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9 octobre 2014 4 09 /10 /octobre /2014 07:45
Troops prepare for Sierra Leone Ebola duty

A doctor briefs his team during a training exercise [Picture: Graham Harrison, Crown copyright]


7 October 2014    Ministry of Defence, Department for International Development and The Rt Hon Mark Francois MP


Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois has praised military personnel going through medical training to help tackle Ebola in west Africa.


More than 100 members of the British Army’s 22 Field Hospital are preparing to provide a 12-bed treatment unit for healthcare workers in Sierra Leone.

Today, Mr Francois witnessed mission training at the Army Medical Services establishment in Strensall, which is designed to develop and assess the clinical and organisational procedures required.

Personnel carried out parts of the exercise in personal protective equipment in a hangar converted into a mock-up field hospital, treating simulated casualties to replicate the situation they expect to find when they deploy.

A medical technician tests blood samples
A medical technician tests blood samples during a training exercise [Picture: Graham Harrison, Crown copyright]

Mr Francois said:

The Ebola virus represents a global threat to public health and we will not stand idly by. The UK has been at the forefront of responding to the epidemic and our medics will continue the great work already carried out by the military engineers, planners, DFID and FCO representatives and NGOs.

This operation will involve a unique set of challenges, but I believe that our military medics, who we are extremely proud of, have the ability to provide support to the World Health Organisation in helping to bring the outbreak under control.

Military personnel will deploy to Sierra Leone next week where they will join military engineers and planners who have been in country for almost a month, overseeing the construction of the medical facilities.

A doctor briefs his team
A doctor briefs his team before ward rounds during a training exercise [Picture: Graham Harrison, Crown copyright]

Commander 2 Medical Brigade, Brigadier Kevin Beaton, said:

We have created a detailed mock-up of the environment we will be operating in once deployed, enabling our personnel to get used to the procedures they will have to undergo and their personal protective equipment, working in challenging conditions.

We believe this is a mission worth doing, and a risk worth taking to protect our people as we tackle Ebola.

The 12-bed facility is just one strand of the UK’s commitment to tackling Ebola. Using British expertise and local building contractors, the UK has pledged to establish the physical infrastructure for a total of 700 beds.

A team of over 40 military personnel, including logisticians, planners and engineers, are currently on the ground in Sierra Leone to oversee the construction of the UK’s facility near Freetown and develop sites for new facilities.

The UK will build at least 4 new Ebola treatment facilities near urban centres including Port Loko, Freetown, Makeni and Bo.

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10 mars 2014 1 10 /03 /mars /2014 16:50
Apprenticeship opportunities at leading defence firm

Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois meets MBDA apprentices [Picture: MBDA]


8 March 2014 Ministry of Defence


Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois has learned about the opportunities available to apprentices at defence equipment company MBDA.


The minister spoke to young trainees as part of a day spent at the missile systems developer and manufacturer’s site in Filton, south Gloucestershire, during a visit coinciding with the conclusion of National Apprenticeship Week.

Mr Francois met apprentices Daniella Di Stazio, Louie Penfold, Anna Schlautmann and Lucinda Jones, all aged between 19 and 21.

The group explained their roles within the firm, which has operations across Europe as well as in the UK, and provided the minister with their first-hand experience of the opportunities that apprenticeships had presented them with.

Mr Francois said:

It is difficult to overstate the importance of apprenticeship schemes and it was fantastic to meet young people who have seized their opportunity with both hands.

National Apprenticeship Week is a good time both to celebrate apprenticeships and highlight once again the positive impact they can have on people and businesses.

After meeting these apprentices I’m confident that the future of defence manufacturing in this company is in safe hands. I wish them every success for the future.

All 4 apprentices are employed either within business or engineering with MBDA.

Daniella Di Stazio, aged 21, is a fourth-year business apprentice based at MBDA’s Stevenage site in Hertfordshire where she works in a supply chain transformation team. She won National Higher Apprentice of the Year 2014 from Semta (the UK Skills Council for Engineering and Manufacturing) in February.

Louie Penfold, aged 19, is a third-year engineering apprentice who works at MBDA’s Henlow facility in Bedfordshire on the final missile assembly line where the integration of warheads and motors takes place prior to customer delivery.

Anna Schlautmann, aged 21, is a third-year logistics apprentice who works on MBDA’s manufacturing workload forecast process ensuring that the company has the necessary resources amongst the teams working on the shop floor on missile assembly. Anna won Apprentice of the Year at the 2013 Manufacturer Awards in December last year.

Lucinda Jones, aged 21, is a second-year engineering apprentice who works in operations at MBDA’s Lostock site in Greater Manchester where she is involved with manufacturing missile components and inert missile assembly.

Daniella said:

Taking part in this apprenticeship scheme has been fantastic for me because I can get paid while gaining experience in permanent employment. It has given my career a great head start in an industry which I find fascinating. I’ve really enjoyed my time at MBDA

It’s also really good to see the Ministry of Defence and the government taking the opportunities presented to young people by apprenticeships seriously.

I really value the opportunity to meet a minister today and talk to him about my career and I hope he found it useful to hear how we have benefited from the scheme.

For people who want to pursue a career in defence, there are no shortage of apprenticeship opportunities.

MBDA offers places each year and is just one of many defence companies offering apprenticeship opportunities for young people starting out on the career ladder.

In addition, the Ministry of Defence, Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force combined are the biggest providers of apprenticeships in the UK.

Army schemes alone have an annual value of £27 million and at any one time there are more than 15,000 soldiers enrolled on an apprenticeship.

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16 janvier 2014 4 16 /01 /janvier /2014 13:50
Armed Forces Minister views UK unmanned aerial systems

Mark Francois speaks to Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton about his experience of the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial system


15 January 2014 Ministry of Defence


Mark Francois toured RAF Waddington today to view the full scope of the UK's unmanned aerial systems capability.


Mr Francois spoke to operators of Navy, Army and RAF unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including Scan Eagle, Desert Hawk and Reaper.

He also viewed the inside of a Reaper control cabin and was shown how a highly-trained and highly-qualified team control the aircraft, with pilots, sensor operators and analysts all working together to make decisions in real-time.

Mr Francois’ visit was part of a wider drive by MOD to dispel some of the myths around the use of unmanned aerial systems, demonstrate the vital role they play in supporting personnel on operations in Afghanistan, and confirm the utility of such systems for the future.

Mr Francois said:

Our remotely-piloted systems provide life-saving intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance on operations as well as giving us the ability to strike precisely at those who pose a risk to our personnel and the people they are trying to protect.

I was delighted to meet with and listen to the talented personnel who operate this capability. They deserve great credit for the work they do in saving the lives of our ground troops, our Afghan and international colleagues, and Afghan civilians.

Mark Francois takes a close look at the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial system
Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois takes a close look at the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial system [Pictures: Corporal Bibby RAF, Crown copyright]

Ground troops who have served in Afghanistan were also present at RAF Waddington to describe how UAS assets had provided them with life-saving support at vital times.

Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Joint Forces Command Capability Director, said:

The UK’s unmanned aerial systems provide UK and allied forces with persistent surveillance of enemy positions without putting their lives at unnecessary risk. In today’s operational environment they are still used predominantly in surveillance and reconnaissance roles.

When precision strike capability is required by ground commanders, this is always in accordance with international humanitarian law and governed by the same strict rules of engagement as those governing manned aircraft.

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