Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), an Armed Forces charity from Aylesford, has provided the ideal location for soldiers from 1 Royal School of Military Engineering, to complete the design and build phase of their Military Plant Foreman (MPF) training.
The MPF course consists of 88 weeks of intensive training where the students are equipped with the skills to reconnoitre, design, plan and co-ordinate all aspects of earthmoving and engineer construction plant for military and civil engineer works. The training covers a vast array of subjects ranging from; mathematics and engineering science to design and build project management. On successful completion of the course the students pass out as Military Plant Foreman and are awarded a foundation degree in highway engineering and plant management.
The culmination of the MPF training is for the students to design, plan and manage a technically demanding, infrastructure engineering task, utilising the skills learned throughout the course. The task sites for this year’s project were chosen by WO2 (MPF) David Dixon in collaboration with Geoff Humphreys, RBLI’s Head of Property Services and who is himself a former Royal Engineer.
The prioritised areas that benefitted both parties were; the removal and reinstatement of approx 100m of bitumen bound asphalt pavement and adjacent footway at East Park Road. The construction of a modular block paved patio at the Capel Morris Centre, which itself is the venue for training courses to support Armed Forces personnel prepare for civilian employment. The final area was the replacement of approx 176m2 of concrete hard standing at RBLI’s Social Enterprise factory, which provides employment to injured service personnel and people with disabilities and health conditions.
Sergeant James Collins, one of the five students, explains “this project provided us with a real-life task that we saw from inception through to the finished product. The five of us had never undertaken or managed such a technically demanding construction project before and it was immensely satisfying to see such a worthwhile cause benefitting the local residents and RBLI’s village as a whole.”
One of the MPF course instructors, WO2 (MPF) David Dixon noted “the end product of their work is constantly on display so they had to complete it to the highest of standards. Due to the adverse weather, the students had to work extremely long hours to complete this project on time and it is a testament to themselves that they have achieved this.”
Geoff Humphreys of RBLI, is very impressed with the standard of work, “The quality of work is outstanding and I would like to thank the Royal Engineer permanent staff members and the MPF students for all their help and dedication in making these projects come to life. This work allowed the charity to save considerable funds and also means residents and staff have safer access routes. I look forward to the continued partnership between RBLI and the Royal Engineers, receiving ongoing continued support and as always their enthusiastic MPF students.”
RBLI is a Not-for-profit Charity that was established in 1919 to provide health and occupational care for troops returning from the Great War. RBLI continues to support veterans and their families, and in recent years the organisation has developed its client base to include people with disabilities. RBLI provides accommodation for approximately 200 residents, is a Welfare to Work provider for 12,000 customers and a well-established Social Enterprise based in Aylesford Kent.
RBLI offer a unique, bespoke service in activities such as pallet and signs manufacture, mailing, print and distribution services. They also offer a specialist service in fulfilment with a growing product portfolio that ranges from toys to furniture.
RBLI re-invests the successes made from commercial activities into charitable programmes such as LifeWorks – an innovative guidance course designed for the Armed Forces Community, to build on their existing skills for life beyond the Armed Forces.
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