Rowers from our Pupil Referral Unit rowing programme were invited to an afternoon with the Royal Navy, as a way to connect them with the River Thames and learn more about the organisation. 

Breaking Barriers is a 'life skills' mentoring programme which aims to enable LYR rowers to flourish as they transition from school into the wider world. It develops skills such as teamwork and resilience through linking practical rowing sessions on the water with mentoring and positive experiences, to broaden aspirations and provide future pathways for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students in Pupil Referral Units (PRU) have often attended multiple schools, and have missed out on opportunities due to their prior absenteeism or poor behaviour. Whilst in a PRU setting, teachers try to link students to positive experiences and opportunities where possible.

As part of London Youth Rowing’s PRU programme, students from New Regent’s College were invited to attend an afternoon with the Royal Navy. The Community Engagement Team were welcoming, professional and ready to answer the huge array of questions which the students had! Students discovered all about the Royal Navy and the work it does at home and abroad: from developing relationships both here and internationally, to first-hand accounts from people who had tackled trafficking and piracy.

Above: students learning about the Navy first hand

After hearing about the Navy’s reach, students were invited aboard a P2000 vessel, heading East towards the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. Students were able to explore the boat, even heading below deck to see what the living areas were like. They all had the opportunity to steer the boat, under the guidance of the Captain, and were keen to know more about life at sea.

Above: student aboard P2000 on the Thames

The visit raised awareness of the importance of the Royal Navy’s work, presented positive role models, and gave insight into the array of careers available. None of the students had been aboard a boat like the P2000, and only one of the students had seen Greenwich before.

Rubert Jonker, Assistant Head, New Regent’s College said:

'Thank you for the invite on behalf of New Regent’s College and all our students who attended. For some it was their first trip on the Thames and what an experience that was. It gave them the opportunity to see life outside of Hackney and the possibilities out there for them. I’ve only had positive feedback since yesterday.' 

Leading Seaman, Luigi Laorenza, HMS President said:

'The Royal Navy Community Engagement Team had a fantastic day with the pupils from New Regent’s College. It was great to see students of a similar background to myself be so engaged and enthusiastic about the Royal Navy.  They asked some great questions and seemed to really enjoy the challenges we set them.  I am looking forward to working with them again.'

The Royal Navy attended NJIRC, engaging with young people and raising awareness of the important role the Navy plays. They set practical skill challenges, and talked to young people about teamwork and teambuilding. We look forward to developing our relationship with the Royal Navy on Breaking Barriers.