Reserve Forces and Cadets Association
for North of England


Exercise Executive Stretch

Supportive employers from across our region are invited to send their employees on our annual Exercise Executive Stretch (formerly known as Exercise Merlin Executive) which gives their staff the opportunity to learn some of the well-recognised and respected leadership skills which the British Armed Forces use, their processes for efficient planning and to put them into practice in exciting and challenging scenarios before bringing them back to the workplace.


We can offer your organisation this opportunity for your middle management staff or up-and-coming young executives for what has always proved to be a most rewarding experience.

Employers and senior members of those organisations taking part are also invited to attend the visitors’ day, where they will be briefed on the exercise and after a lunch, visit their employees in action. 

1171The North of England and Yorkshire & The Humber RFCAs very much hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity.                                                                    

What is Exercise Executive Stretch?

Exercise Executive Stretch enables you and your staff to experience Reservist training for yourselves over 3 days. It’s a unique opportunity for individuals to enhance their personal leadership, teamwork and communication skills, as well as gain a valuable insight into the transferable skills that Reservists develop during similar training exercises.

Organised by the Volunteer Reserve Forces and the MoD's Regional Employer Engagement Director, it is run by Reservists at Strensall Barracks near York, and this year will take place on 4 - 6 May 2017.

After a briefing session and basic instruction in essential skills, you'll work in teams to tackle a series of leadership challenges, planning exercises and physical activities. These will involve problem solving, lateral thinking and initiative, requiring you to call on a whole range of skills.408

Although the event is undeniably challenging, you don't need to be young or super-fit. What will really be tested is your determination, strength of character and your ability to work well under pressure and as part of a team.

Individuals will be expected to have a reasonable level of fitness as they will be expected to walk around the training area. During the exercise training period they will be given mental and physical tasks of dexterity. They will be expected to lead the team during a task and will be on the move from 6am to around 5pm.

1173On one day they will undertake a team challenge which may involve a mini assault course, getting wet and very muddy. We are not looking for super athletic individuals, more of a can do person. We will overcome most other issues as and when they arise.

 We never make anyone undertake anything they feel too challenging but do expect them to work outside their comfort zone. This gives a good profile of strong leaders who can project manage a team of professionals to their strengths. Being out of their

comfort zone also gives a good indication of an individual’s ability to undertake and achieve projects to a successful conclusion.

Why do it?

People who have taken part in the past tell us that they have greater self-confidence, enhanced communication skills and a better understanding of leadership and teamwork. They also have a real sense of personal achievement and insight into what being a Reservist involves. These are just some of the benefits you can expect when you take part in Exercise Executive Stretch.1169

What to expect

Exercise Executive Stretch usually takes place over 3 days, starting on a Thursday morning and finishing by Saturday lunch time. This is what previous participants had to say:

“A buzz, a natural high, and a new interest in the Army Reserves! On a work level, the exercise increased my confidence, gave me more self-belief and has encouraged me to push myself when out of my comfort zone. The whole thing was exciting, different, challenging and I’d do it again at the drop of a hat. It’s by far the Best training course I’ve been on – beats ‘Death by Power Point any day!’  

Kate Stephenson, Events Manager, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce 

“I think I gained an awful lot from the exercise, in terms of enhanced leadership, teamwork and problem solving skills. It was useful to experience a wealth of different leadership styles in numerous situations and to reflect on what worked well. For me also it was really useful to experience managing and leading team members.”

Sam Finnerty, Marketing Officer, Portakabin Group Ltd

“It took me right out of my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to prove to myself that I am capable of operating outside of it and banish the doubts that had started to creep in over the years. It definitely bolstered my own confidence and feeling of self-worth.”    

Tracy Hindle, Programme & Project Manager, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

EX ES 1“As an organisation, we invested in the development of some of our managers and provided them with an opportunity for personal growth. Investment in our employees lends itself to more engaged and motivated employees.”

Vasanta Group – Previous participants in numerous Executive Exercises.

For more information contact:

Gary McLafferty or Lindsay Thomas North of England RFCA Regional Employer Engagement team 0191 3836260           

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