Royal Marines help students get fighting fit

STUDENTS in South Tyneside learned from the best as they were put through their paces by Royal Marines.

Commandos Aiden Rodders and Jon Smith called in to South Tyneside College to work with students on the uniformed public services course.

Aiden, 23, and Jon, 35, are part of a team from Commando Training Centre, in Exeter, who go out on manoeuvres across the North East, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to instruct young people for careers in the Army and Navy.

They used their skills to put the students through their paces during an hour-long workout on playing fields at the college’s Westoe campus, in South Shields.

The session saw the learners endure short sprints and a general fitness workout, as well as map and compass reading.

There were also endurance challenges, expeditions and rock climbs, along with discipline and teamwork training.

Lecturer Aaron Carabine, 29, a former Royal Howards veteran, who saw service in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Bosnia, said: “Aiden and Jon do occasional training with us, and their efforts really help to inspire the students.

“The course gives them great insight and knowledge into what life is like in the armed forces and prepares them really well, and Jon and Aiden bring an extra element to that.

“The students do essential training with the college and gain a real understanding of the demands of the armed forces and uniformed services, such as police, fire service and prison service.

“There are many different and interesting elements to our public services courses, and these students are just starting out along that path – it’s a great experience for them to be supported by Royal Marine Commandos. It helps them to learn the discipline and attitude that they will need to pass the course and become the soldiers, police and firemen of the future.”

Jon, a general duties corporal, and heavy weapons specialist, and Aiden, a marine, say it is important that recruits to the Royal Marine Commandos, the strike force of the Royal Navy, are prepared for what awaits.

Jon said: “They need to know that they will get tired, hungry and wet – they have to be mentally and physically strong.

“As marines, we generally keep ourselves to ourselves, so little is known about us or the work we do.

“Training students like these at South Tyneside College helps us to dispel the myths that surround life in the Royal Marine Commando.

“The course they are on, mixed with the training that Aiden and I give, gives them a real grasp of what lies ahead.

“The fact they have signed up to the college course shows they are already motivated,” he added.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVez