It’s not every day you get to fly in a Griffin helicopter.
That’s what cadets from Queen’s University Officers’ Training Corps in Belfast have experienced during their summer camp visit to Cyprus.
Queens University Officers’ Training Corps (QUOTC) is an Army Reserve unit that recruits exclusively from university and college students aged 19 and over.
The aim of the Corps' programmes is to train the future generation of officers for the regulars and reserves of the British Army.
There is no obligation for those signing up to the training to go on to join the Army following university or college, but the QUOTC offers students a way of learning crucial transferable skills required for future work and life.
Students gain internationally-recognised leadership training which they can help shape their future career prospects.
The cadets on the summer visit to Cyprus, based at Bloodhound Camp, spent two weeks undergoing training exercises, participating in community activities and learning about the history of the island.
In the first week, cadets were conducting mock strike operations into the heart of the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) with the support of Griffin helicopters from RAF Akrotiri.
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Farthing, Commanding Officer of Queen’s UOTC, said:
"It’s been a completely different in terms of culture, climate and the activities too.
"We provide a challenging, safe and fun environment, so that they feel confident and comfortable to grow as individuals.
"To have the experience that they get through the OTC is absolutely first-class. It just pitches them above some of their peers that they’ve been going through their degree with."
Over the weekend, cadets got time to relax in the sun while also learning about the important history of Cyprus.
Week two, they took part in adventurous training and did Military Aid to Civil Community (MACC) tasks, which included the refurbishment of buildings across the SBA.
The University Officers' Training Corps is open to all students studying higher education in the UK.
Tobias Vincent, one of the cadets, said:
"You should join because it's a great way to meet new people, do something with your free time and earn real-world skills.
"The thing I enjoy the most is the opportunities. It's opened a lot of doors and it's continuing to do so.
"Cyprus is a great example of that, I was in Gibraltar last year - I'll just have to see where I'm going next year."