A GROUP of Year 10 pupils from Melksham Oak Community School went to the IKEA furniture store in Bristol for a factfinding educational visit last week.

The aim of the trip was to source essential furniture to equip a flat, up to the value of £1,000 and within one hour, 30 minutes.

All the pupils, who included Carrieann Ehlenbach, Charlie Cottee, Josh Robinson, Lewis Filkins, Lewis Smith, Max King and Robyn Price, are enrolled on the SkillForce Wider Key Skills and 3 Cs (Community, Character and Contribution) programme.

The focus of this is to facilitate students in developing life and work skills such as management of finances and understanding the realities of their wider environment and community in which they operate.

The trip made them contemplate what furniture is essential for living, the cost of furniture and where to prioritise and reduce spending to stick within a budget. They developed a keen eye for spotting bargains and problem solving.

By the end of the time limit, they had all successfully furnished a flat for under the £1,000 budget. Items ranged from simple, overlooked products such as knives, forks and spoons to larger items like beds and mattresses.

In another SkillForce exercises, pupils from St Laurence, Bradford on Avon and John of Gaunt, Trowbridge, experienced life in the skies when they visited the Parachute School at RAF Brize Norton.

Groups from Year nine and ten were given an in-depth briefing on the role of the school and shown a video on the soldiers’ training and the different types of parachutes they use.

To get an idea of how heavy the kit was pupils were given the opportunity to try on all the British military parachutes currently in service.

Martin Bonner, SkillForce area manager for West of England and South Wales, said: “They loved the experience. It gave them a brief insight into a career in the military.

“We are extremely grateful to Wing Commander Wayne Loxton and his staff for allowing our SkillForce students to visit the school.”

SkillForce is a charity that works with schools, drawing upon the skills of predominantly ex-Forces personnel to inspire young people to succeed.

SkillForce has changed the lives of over 50,000 young people in the UK, engaging the hard-to-reach, developing their skills, and preparing them for next steps in education, work or training.