The Army Foundation College in Harrogate saw over 400 teenagers march on their way to a new career when they graduated from the Army’s 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, 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.
Among the Junior Soldiers on the shorter 22-week course designed for other cap badges, are 12 young musicians destined for a career in the Corps of Army Music (CAMUS). This is the first time that CAMUS entrants have trained at the Army Foundation College.
All the Junior Soldiers on the short course will move to a longer and more specialist Phase 2 training. This could include anything from being a vehicle mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to becoming a communications systems operator with the Royal Signals.
Some of the Junior Soldiers 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 on the longer course will have been able to gain Non-Vocational Qualifications such as English, Maths and ICT as well as driver theory training. Many have also achieved a Duke of Edinburgh award.
Lieutenant Colonel Rich Hall, the College’s Commanding Officer said:
Those graduating today have proved equal to the test, and they stand before you on parade, proud of their achievements, and looking forward to the next stage of training before joining their respective Battalions and Regiments.
These soldiers represent the very best of our nation’s young people. I have no doubt that they are fully prepared for their second phase of training which will be every bit as important as what they have achieved to date. Looking ahead, I am certain that they will acquit themselves well in the Field Army.
Major General Paul Nanson CBE, the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and the parade senior Inspecting Officer, inspected the Junior Soldiers, presented prizes and took the salute as the military parade marched past the dais.
In his speech to Junior Soldiers and their families he said: “You have all volunteered to be soldiers, to serve your Queen and your country, to protect our nation and our people – if necessary risking your own safety and comfort in the process. Many dream of taking such a step. Few have the courage or the ability to do it. Fewer still make the grade. You have my respect and my admiration for getting this far.”
As Colonel Commandant Army Music, Major General Nanson also made special mention of the Junior Soldiers destined for the Corps of Army Music.
“I am particularly delighted to see Junior Entry musicians passing out for the first time today – your Corps is extremely proud of you.”
Photos by Sgt Donald Todd RLC