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Workers are put through Army paces; CHALLENGE: Employees tested to boost skills.

Byline: By Paul Suart

FEARLESS workers from across the West Midlands swapped their sharp suits for boiler suits to tackle a gruelling army assault course

More than 100 employees from 14 companies and organisations including West Midlands Fire Service and Birmingham City Council, were put through their paces in a series of Territorial Army challenges at the Nesscliffe Army Training Camp, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

As part of the Exercise Executive Stretch plucky participants had to negotiate tests in bridge building, vehicle recovery, watermanship skills, medical evacuation, building defence and communications, in a bid to enhance their leadership and team building skills.

Hazel Broadhouse, who was part of a nine-strong team from BCC's emergency planning rapid response unit, said: "Because we worked as a team we got each other through it.

"It was very challenging both physically and mentally.

"The scariest thing was the assault course but we've bonded as a team and when we do come to an incident in Birmingham we'll all be a lot more effective because we know each other's strengths and weaknesses."

The event was run for SaBRE, which provides support to Britain's reservists, by members of Birmingham University Officers Training Corps - part of 143 (West Midlands) Brigade.

Sylvia Parkin, of SaBRE, said: "It was an excellent event.

"Greater self-confidence, enhanced communication skills and a better understanding of the importance of teamwork are just some of the changes that are consistently mentioned."

Each challenge was supervised by TA units from across the West Midlands.

Jonathan Bourne-May, brigade commander 143 West Midlands, said: "We've tried to give them something a little bit different including the opportunity to test themselves and work together as a team in an unusual environment."

CAPTION(S):

BUILDING BRIDGES... emergency planning rapid response unit members Hazel Broadhouse and Matt Brown working on a bridge-building exercise.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 28, 2008
Words:303
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