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The Corporation

Posted: 09/03/20

All aboard! Public services students visit HMS Prince of Wales

Public services students from West Nottinghamshire College swapped the classroom for Liverpool’s docks last week.

  • Public services students and tutors on board HMS Prince of Wales
  • The impressive deck, the size of three football pitches
  • Students were able to see inside the ship's hold
  • The ship in the Liverpool dock

The group of 25 students were fortunate to be able to see HMS Prince of Wales, one of the Royal Navy’s most powerful warships up-close, during its week-long visit to Liverpool.

The 65,000-tonnes ship is the second of the UK’s giant new aircraft carriers and boasts a 280 metre-long flight deck, which the students were able to have a tour of, getting right to the top of the flight ramp which has a 28 metre drop.

As well as seeing the impressive external of the ship with aircraft such as a Wildcat and Merlin helicopters students were able to tour inside, seeing the main hold for the aircraft.

Students were able to speak to crew members on Monday (2 March) as well as find out more about careers in the Royal Navy and build their own Lego version of HMS Prince of Wales.

Matt Smedley, 18, from the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Public Services said: “It was really interesting to look around and see the latest military technology and the tour was led by one of the navy crew.  We got to see the different helicopters such as a Merlin, Wildcat and Sea King and went in the cockpit of a chinook.”

Also a student on the diploma course, Ryan King, 18, said: “It gave us different ideas for careers such as Royal Marine Commandos, the Navy and RAF.

“The most exciting part was being able to go inside the helicopters. We were able to go up on the take-off ramp which was about 100 feet up and from there we could see some of Liverpool’s iconic buildings such as The Royal Liver Building and The Cunard Building.”

The ship has a company of 700 sailors, which will increase to around 1,600 with aircraft on board and it’s said that its dimensions make the flight deck equivalent to the size of three football pitches.

Public services tutor Alan Viggers said: “I was so impressed by the ship – it was awesome and I know our students really enjoyed the opportunity – this week being the first time that members of the public have been on-board.

“Students were happy to ask the crew many questions both about the ship and life on board as well as getting their questions answered about careers in the Royal Navy. It’s sparked a lot of interest in the groups with some now wanting to add the navy as a careers choice.”

The naval theme will continue this week with the students as the college’s principal Andrew Cropley will be speaking about his time in the Royal Navy. Andrew served as staff officer for personnel development and as commanding officer of the Defence School of Languages in a 21-year naval career.