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Educating the Next Generation of Royal Engineers
2019 had an interesting start for Peter Conn. He joined MKC Training as Engineering Divisional Manager and was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List for 38 years' Army service.
I've been privileged to move up through the ranks of soldier, and to progress as an officer in the Royal Engineers," he explains. "Now I'm in a great position to use that experience to enrich the training and development of the newer generation of recruits. I've been involved in training soldiers since 1992, through a wide variety of roles. I'm strongly motivated to help people reach their potential and this role at MKC will give me the opportunity to achieve that.
Brompton Barracks in Chatham is an influential base for training Royal Engineers and Peter knows the site well, he was an Engineering Surveyor trade Instructor and commanded the Royal Engineers' Training and Development Team there earlier in his career. He was involved with training newly qualified Sappers, and with the development of Junior Commanders at Gibraltar Barracks, Minley; the sister Regiment of the RSME at Chatham.
Peter was brought up in Gillingham and joined the Army as an Apprentice Tradesman in 1980, soon qualifying as an Engineering Surveyor. Throughout his service he completed tours of the Falkland Islands, Canada, Cyprus, Belize, Jordan, Norway, Northern Ireland, the Balkans and the Middle East. In the Falkland Islands, he was the surveyor responsible for the construction of RAF Phantom jet shelters and the Rotary Hydraulic Arrester Gear (the elastic band that stops the planes) on Port Stanley airfield. He was involved with the Royal Engineers' effort to provide an alternative site to Greenham Common for US Aircraft to land their nuclear weapons, by surrounding RAF Molesworth with wire fencing on 5 Feb 1985 (his 21st birthday). His various roles in the military have given him broad perspectives as a foundation for his training and development work, having involved him with recruitment, training for combat, engineering and artisan trades, and resettlement. He has also learnt much about the principles and practice of education, and how best to balance essential theory with learning from experience.
An all-round sportsman, he has been grateful to the Royal Engineers to allow him to participate in a wide range of activities. He was awarded his Army Youth colours for volleyball and had England trials. In addition he has represented the Corps at golf and latterly was the Serving Vice President of the Royal Engineers' Golf Society. He represented the Corps at Cross Country and was part of the successful Veterans teams that were Army Champions. He played football for the Corps in the UK (as a goalkeeper) and in the British Army of the Rhine (as a striker) and won many competitions including the Sapper Cup twice. Contributing widely to Army Football, he was the Chairman of both UK South Football for seven seasons and Army Football referees for five years where he was responsible to the Army Committee and the Football Association for the qualification, development and progression of Army personnel.
I've been fortunate to have extensive opportunities to learn," Peter reflects, "I now have the chance to use these experiences to help build the capability and knowledge of the next generation of Sappers.
My vision is to develop training that allows people to be the best they possibly can be - to really fulfil their potential. I'd like to give them the skills they need to advance through the ranks and to develop themselves personally and continually. I'm excited to be part of the development of Royal Engineers as they start their military journey.
My vision is to develop training that allows people to be the best they possibly can be - to really fulfil their potential.