Junior soldiers graduate flagship army training programme

650 junior soldiers attending the Army Foundation College in Harrogate have graduated from the military’s flagship training programme for 16-17 year olds.

Currently, the college runs two kinds of courses; the first lasting 42 weeks and a second lasting 22 weeks. Both are designed to prepare junior soldiers for a wide range of military careers. The junior soldiers attending the longer 42-week course will now march off the square towards the second phase of their training in the Infantry, Royal Artillery, Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Logistic Corps.

A company of junior soldiers attending the shorter 22-week course designed for other cap badges will now head for the longer, more specialised phase of their training which could include being a vehicle mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to becoming a communications system operator with the Royal Signals.

Lieutenant General Nick Pope CBE, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, was the Inspecting Officer. He presented prizes and took the salute as the military parade marched past the dais, and told the junior soldiers that it was a day to savour – not just for themselves but their families and friends as well.

“You are about to embark on a challenging and rewarding career in the service of your nation. You should be really proud of reaching this point. You are the Army of the future at a time when the British Army faces the most challenging environment I have ever faced in my 36-year career.

“Joining the Army is like joining an extended family and rest assured that the teams you will join are part of that family. This is about belonging. Aim high, be positive and have the confidence to challenge things. The Army life is about integrity, courage and selfless commitment.”

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hall, Commanding Officer of the Army Foundation College, said that the graduation ceremony was the pinnacle of the junior soldiers’ career so far and went on to highlight the importance of the programme, stating: “The College is a vital component in providing the soldiers of the future and we are operating at full capacity and it is predicted to stay at full capacity for the foreseeable future.”

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