More than 400 Junior Soldiers passed out today (Saturday, August 8, 2020) at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, today before a new Commander who praised their remarkable achievements during the COVID 19 lockdown.
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Farebrother MC, the new Commanding Officer of the training facility, said:
It is fantastic to see Burma and Peninsula Companies graduating after their year in training. The fact that they have achieved so much, despite the trials of COVID lockdown and working from home, is remarkable.
The Permanent Staff and Junior Soldiers met the challenge and we have learnt loads about remote working which we can now take forward to future courses. I wish them all the very best of luck with their careers.
The training college is the only Junior 1 Entry Phase 1 training establishment in the British Army and plays a vital role in providing initial military training, instilling future leadership skills and also offers education for under 19s, which provides them with knowledge to excel in their military career and beyond.
Burma Company was the first on parade and followed by Peninsula Company with Brigadier Mike Butterwick, Commander of the British Army’s Initial Training Group, acting as Senior Inspecting Officer for each parade,. He inspected the Junior Soldiers, presented prizes and took the salute as the military parades passed the dais.
This was the first parade in command of the Army Foundation College for Lt. Col. Farebrother who added:
I was extremely impressed by the standard of drill, despite a much shorter time to prepare than is usual. This is testament to the absolute commitment of all the college staff who all take enormous pride in their work. I am very proud of them and all they have achieved.
For the Junior Soldiers, today marked the end of the first chapter in their chosen profession. They have much to look forward to as they now specialise in their chosen Corps and Regiments. We now look forward to welcoming over 1000 new Junior Soldiers in October, ready to start their careers in the British Army.
Junior Soldier Connor Gibbs, from Leeds, said he had wanted to gain qualifications and had succeeded in Maths, English and ICT.
Junior Soldier Connor Gibbs said:
I have really enjoyed going on exercise with my platoon particularly the live firing on the ranges but I am also proud of what I have achieved while at the College. I am now looking forward to taking everything I have learned here and going forward with the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
Junior Soldier Alfie Powell, from Hartlepool, said he had always wanted to join The Parachute Regiment and follow in the footsteps of his Dad and Grandad, who served in World War II.
Junior Soldier Alfie Powell said:
I think the Army is going to be a great career and I just hope that I can now go on and pass P Company so I can become a Para. It is what I have always wanted to achieve. I just know there are loads of opportunities.
I have enjoyed all the military exercises we have been on and learning the fieldcraft skills required to be a competent soldier.