Junior soldier from Sheffield passes out in military parade

Charlotte Beasley
Charlotte Beasley

Hundreds of junior soldiers – including 17-year-old Charlotte Beasley from Sheffield – have celebrated their graduation in a military passing out parade at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

The passing out parade marks the completion of the soldiers’ British Army Junior Entry training at Uniacke Barracks, where they are all paid to train.

They will now go on to serve in various Corps and Regiments of the British Army to begin the next part of their specialist training, where they will learn how to do their jobs at home and abroad. Junior Entry soldiers go on to become engineers, IT specialists, infantry soldiers, as well as more technical specialists.

The prestigious ceremony is the culmination of many months of hard work and determination from all the Junior Soldiers graduating. Their final training exercise is a gruelling, 30-hour battle camp challenge across the Yorkshire Dales encompassing all the training they’ve learned during their time at AFC Harrogate.

The British Army recently launched a new campaign to attract Generation Z – 16-24-year-olds – by showing them how they can grow and become better versions of themselves with an Army career. The Army is seeking to grab their attention by telling them: ‘Don’t join the Army, don’t become a better you’.

Junior Soldier Beasley, who studied at Westfield School, will go on to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Combat Medical Technician.

She said: “Graduating from AFC Harrogate in front of my friends and family is something that I am very proud of doing. They are all really proud and happy for me.

“Being a Combat Medical Technician will be really challenging, but it will mean I can help people all around the world. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

“As a Junior Soldier you learn core life skills such as leadership, teamwork and determination. I have made loads of friends and met new people, and have become much more confident in my own ability.

“I’ve been paid really well for someone of my age and I’ve got some really useful qualifications. I’m now really looking forward to the next stage of my Army career.”

Every year, AFC Harrogate takes in 1,350 school-leavers in two intakes (March and September). As the UK’s largest apprenticeship provider, the Army offers Junior Soldiers apprenticeships in more than 45 technical trades in engineering, construction, IT, animal care, logistics and telecommunications and 500 different educational qualifications – from GCSEs to degrees, after they pass out from AFC Harrogate.

Unlike civilian jobs, the Army pays Junior Soldiers a full salary to train from day one, paying more than £1,000 a month. Once the Junior Soldiers have graduated they can expect regular pay reviews and clear promotion paths, as well as 38 days leave a year.

The Junior Entry programme provides an alternative route for young, active people that combines military skills with education and adventurous training, in the UK and all over the world, as well as access to world class facilities, excellent benefits and the chance to be part of the biggest team they’ll ever join.

General Officer Commanding, Army Recruiting and Training Division, Major General Chris Tickell said:

“All the Junior Soldiers passing out today should be proud of all that they have achieved during their time at AFC Harrogate. The training these soldiers go through is tough, but undeniably leads to excellent opportunities for personal and career development and allows people’s talents and skills to shine through.

“The Army will give you the chance to become a better version of yourself. It will invest in your future development, and all junior soldiers are trained and developed in skills and qualifications that can be used to grow a career within the Army or for use in a civilian career.”

There are thousands of full-time and part-time jobs available in the Army, across hundreds of different roles. Some of the roles available now include: bricklayers, electricians, communications specialists, logistics specialists, drivers, HR, engineers, welders, veterinary technicians, musicians, environment health technicians, health care assistants and infantry soldiers.

For more information about the exciting job opportunities with the Army Click here