Pomp and pride at soldiers’ graduation

CHESTS out and chins up, 664 junior soldiers graduated in 
front of proud parents at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

Yesterday’s parade marked the culmination of a year of hard work and commitment from the young soldiers – including 33 women – who hail from all corners of Yorkshire and beyond.

The ceremony coincided with a nationwide drive to recruit 10,000 new soldiers and officers into around 220 different roles.

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Hundreds of teenagers were cheered on by relatives and friends who travelled from all over the country to Uniacke Barracks in Penny Pot Lane to watch them on their special day.

The college trains young people to become junior soldiers for the various Corps and Regiments of the Army. While at Harrogate, the 16- and 17-year-old recruits combine military training whilst continuing education in key subjects such as numeracy and literacy.

The junior soldiers will now receive specialist phase two training.

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, director of recruiting and training for the Army, said: “We are always looking for talented, young people to take up the challenge of a career in the Army.

“No matter what your skills or background, the Army has something to offer you and an Army job provides opportunities to learn much more beyond military skills. It will develop you and show you the strengths you didn’t know you had.

“No matter what its size, the Army is always recruiting to ensure we have enough quality junior ranks and young officers to sustain the organisation and keep it ready for the challenges of the future.

“We pride ourselves on recruiting individuals who demonstrate talent and promise, and then provide them with all the training and development opportunities they need.”

Would-be recruits can now apply online and Army roles are now advertised in job centres.