I recently attended the Universities of Wales Air Squadron’s (UWAS) Annual Dinner, where I enjoyed hearing about the many ways in which our students get involved in training and development activities with the RAF and other areas of the Armed Forces.
UWAS is one of 15 air squadrons in the UK and provides flying and military educational training to undergraduate students. By taking part in a range of exciting initiatives, our students develop leadership, inter-personal, organisational and communication skills as well as training in flying small planes. With all activities integrated into the curriculum, it was clear from talking to some of the students at the dinner that this is an excellent opportunity for personal development.
I also got to meet representatives from the wider Armed Forces community including Air Vice Marshal Bethel, the Commandant of the No 6 Flying Training School of the RAF, Group Captain Howard Edwards, the Officer Commanding of the St Athans Wales Air Squadron Squadron Leader Elford and Flight Lieutenants Gasson and Westwood. I heard more about the truly exceptional work they do. I was delighted to represent the University and talk about our long and valued history of working with and supporting the Armed Forces community. Guests were delighted to hear that Cardiff was one of the first universities in Wales to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, which sets out our pledge to support students associated with the Armed Forces.
It was a very enjoyable event in good company with excellent food and drink and really highlighted to me the huge contribution made by our Armed Forces, not just in protecting and supporting the UK and wider world, but also in training our students in a wide range of areas.