Royal Signals Transition Workshop

Whilst many were out wandering the streets as goblins and ghouls, a small group of WCIT members were down in deepest Dorset at Blandford Camp for the 2023 Transition Workshop. An annual event spanning four decades and a significant part of our connections with the Royal Signals.

The afternoon of 31 October saw a private visit to the Royal Signals Museum and a tour of the STEM Room.  The STEM Room was funded through the WCIT Charity, and feedback is that it is highly popular with schools and cadet forces as they have hands-on experience of robotics at a suitable level for each age group. Early evening saw the Master Information Technologist deliver a presentation on Livery Companies and our Company to some twenty recently commissioned officers in the third week of commanding their first Troop. A dinner followed in the Officers Mess. At after dinner drinks, connections were made with the young officers and many older ones some of whom were part of the Transition Workshop.  We were very pleased that Corps Colonel Nic Bruce was able to join us for the evening.

After a sound sleep and no sign of a bugle call on 1 November, a hearty breakfast was enjoyed and then the volunteers started work. We were joined by sixteen serving personnel on their transition into civilian life with ranks ranging from Corporal to Colonel. Mentors and mentees were in casual civilian dress to break down barriers. The morning started with a presentation by the Master on Livery Companies and our Livery. This was closely followed by presentations on aspects of finding work that the mentees had not experienced, for example writing a cv and being interviewed. After the presentations, mentors and mentees set up their initial connections and set up future one-to-one meetings. The Royal Signals were kind enough to offer the opportunity to have a go on the indoor range and some of us were pleased to accept. More practice required to avoid hitting the adjacent target!

During the morning, the Master gave an absorbing interview to British Forces Radio and visited the STEM Room and museum.

The presenters were the Master Kerri Mansfield JP, Keith Conway, Hilary Whicker, Wayne Smith and Nichola Begg. The final presentations were real life experiences by Ross McDuff and Martin Hempstock, both former Royal Signals personnel, and neither of whom are WCIT members. A special ‘thank you’ goes to them. Ross flew in from Germany and Martin drove down through the night from the Northeast. All the WCIT presenters are mentors and other mentors are Stuart Murdoch, Charles Ryder, Gordon Walker and Vicki Schmidt. The event was organised by Col (ret’d) Liz Dallyn, Director Royal Signals Institute and Dr Charles Ryder, Chair of the WCIT Careers Panel. The event will run again in 2024. It is full of great experiences and memories whilst making a difference through connecting with those Royal Signals personnel on their way into civilian life.