The Head of the Army’s Theatre Troops, Major General Tim Radford is to inspect the largest military graduation parade in the Europe at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Nearly 700 junior soldiers from Cambria, Peninsula and Burma companies will march on to the parade ground at Uniacke Barracks in front of over 4,500 relatives and friends. The parade of seventeen-year-old students from two intakes joined the college in Penny Pot Lane in September last year and March this year. The parade is only exceeded in size by the Trooping of the Colour held in London.

Major General Radford DSO OBE, will inspect the students from all over the UK and take the salute when they graduate from the college watched by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Oz Lane and members of his staff. The three companies will march onto the parade square led by the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band. Following the inspection and salute, prizes will be awarded to the best students.

The College now takes in Junior Soldiers on two types of course – a short 22 week course and a longer 42 week course. The new short course will deliver basic training to the Junior Soldiers before they leave to follow their longer and more specialist technical training. They will have the opportunity to gain Non-Vocational Qualifications in English, Maths and ICT as well as driver theory training.

The longer course consists of a unique combination of military skills and vocational qualifications before the Junior Soldiers move on to phase 2 training in their chosen trade or specialism. They have had the opportunity to achieve a City and Guilds apprenticeship for Information Technology users at Level 2, incorporating Functional Skills. Many have also achieved a Duke of Edinburgh award.

“The graduation parade will mark the culmination of 12 months of hard work for the young men and women of Cambrai, Peninsula and Burma Companies.” said Lieutenant Colonel Lane. “After a well-earned summer break, our Junior Soldiers can look forward to their specialist training before embarking on the busy, rewarding careers that lie ahead of them.”

Junior Soldiers work on their leadership and team skills as part of the College’s personal and team development package. They undertake 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 are also given the opportunity to sample a wide variety of sports promoting fitness and agility.

Many have just returned from their final exercise in Barry Budden, Scotland. The arduous exercise is the culmination of their fieldcraft and military skills training.

The college opened in 1998 and provides training for soldiers destined for all the Army’s many career paths. It now provides training for 1344 Junior Soldiers taking in students twice a year in September and March.