The Army Foundation College in Harrogate saw over 500 teenagers march on their way to a new career when they graduated from the Army’s flagship training establishment for 16 – 17 year olds.
The college in Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate runs two types of course – a 42-week long course and a shorter 22-week course to train both of which train junior soldiers destined for a wide variety of Army careers.
The Junior soldiers on the longer 42-week course marched off the square to the second phase of their training in the Infantry, Royal Artillery, Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Logistic Corps.
While a company of Junior Soldiers on the shorter 22-week course designed for other cap badges headed for the longer more specialist phase of their training which could be anything from being a vehicle mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer to becoming a communications systems operator with the Royal SignalsThe courses both provide a unique combination of military basic training and vocational training to the Junior Soldiers. The graduation parade at Uniacke Barracks was the finale and thousands of relatives and friends watched the Junior Soldiers pass off the square.
The Junior Soldiers of Cambrai company who have undertaken the 22-week course will have had the opportunity to achieve a City and Guilds apprenticeship for Information Technology users at Level 2, incorporating Functional Skills.
While the Junior Soldiers from Waterloo Company on the longer course will have been able to gain Non-Vocational Qualifications in English, Maths and ICT as well as driver theory training. Many have also achieved a Duke of Edinburgh award.
Lieutenant Colonel William Strickland, the College’s Commanding Officer said: Eleven months ago the men and women of Waterloo Company embarked upon this journey, and they were joined 6 months ago by Cambrai Company.
It has been long and hard, and sometimes emotional. The majority proved equal to the test, and they are the future of the British Army. We are proud of their achievements and we are looking forward to their bright futures.
The soldiers of Waterloo and Cambrai Companies represent the very best of our nation’s young people. I have no doubt that they are fully armed and prepared for their second phase of training. I congratulate both Companies, both the Junior Soldiers and their instructors, on a job very well done.
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mr Barry Dodd inspected the Junior Soldiers, presented prizes and took the salute as the military parade marched past the dais.
Junior Soldiers work on their leadership and team skills as part of the College’s personal and team development package. They have undertaken a number of adventurous training activities, as well as physical and mental challenges, culminating in a 30-hour challenge patrol across the Yorkshire Dales. The students have also had the opportunity to sample a wide variety of sports promoting fitness and agility.
Many have just returned from their final exercise in Scotland – an arduous exercise and the culmination of their fieldcraft and military skills training.
The college opened in 1998 and accommodates 1344 Junior Soldiers.