James Gambrell from Softwerx has recently been running his ‘virtual’ parade nights for the Haverhill Army Cadet Force he trains as a volunteer, using Microsoft Teams video conferencing features. Below we share the story of the cadets' new virtual training and how he made it happen.

1 May 2020



James Gambrell, Senior Account Manager at Softwerx, is also the detachment commander for Haverhill Army Cadet Force. Since all face-to-face activities have been suspended due to Covid-19, he’s taken the initiative and turned to Microsoft Teams to help continue the cadets’ training through the national lock-down.

What virtual cadet training looks like

With the help of the Softwerx Microsoft Solutions Architect, Matt Smith, James has been able to set up his own independent Microsoft Teams licence so he can run the virtual parade nights. On each of the five virtual parade nights organised so far, James has had an average of around 25 cadets attend. He’s been remotely teaching the cadets skills including Navigation, Fieldcraft Tactics and First Aid with the assistance of his detachment staff. He has also been able to share all his presentations with the cadets through the Teams portal and they have been running a weekly quiz that way.


Army cadets in training
James Gambrell commented, “I have had lots of thanks from parents for being able to provide a routine and some sort of normality for the Cadets and their weekI’ve also had positive feedback from the cadets – they are really enjoying being able to continue to learn, grow and engage since Haverhill detachment was one of the first to run virtual parades.”


James Gambrell, detachment commander of Haverhill Army Cadet Force, conducting a training session virtually over teams during the Covid-19 lockdown


The technical side of setting up Teams

Matt Smith explained the process of setting up James on Microsoft Teams: “Using our rapid deployment programme, a new Office 365 tenant was created for James Gambrell and his team providing a private space in which to host parades and explore more Office 365 features.”

With technical support, James was able to deliver the first Tuesday evening parade using Softwerx’s Teams service. The virtual parade for the detachment went so well that a long-term Microsoft 365 account was immediately set up. 


Communications is a vital element of army operations

David Smart, MD of Softwerx shared his encouragement for the project, saying, “The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all of our lives, on both a professional and personal basis. This is a fantastic initiative from James to help and support young people at this difficult time.”


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