[A] soldier from Whitehaven won a top prize for inspirational leadership from the Army Foundation College.
Junior Soldier Corey Mason (17) won the award for the Best Shot for Intake 49 at the military training establishment.which trains 16 -17 year olds.
The former Energy Cast University Technical College pupil was presented with his prize at the passing out parade from the college in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
More than 400 Junior Soldiers graduated from the college, going on to do their Phase 2 training.
Junior Soldier Mason said after winning his award: “I had never done any shooting or marksmanship before I came to the college and at the end of my training got the highest possible score on the range test.
“I was really shocked that I was awarded the prize. My Dad used to be in the Army and said I had done well and my Mum was just happy and proud.
“Now I am looking forward to doing the next stage of my training and will eventually join the Royal Engineers.”
More than 2,000 family members and friends watched the Junior Soldiers take part in the largest military graduation parade in the country.
Maj General Paul Nanson CBE, the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, was the Inspecting Officer, and inspected the Junior Soldiers, presented the prizes and took the salute as they marched past the dais.
“Eleven months ago the Junior Soldiers of Waterloo Company embarked upon this journey, and they were joined six months ago by those of Cambrai Company,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rich Hall, the Commanding Officer of the Army Foundation College.
The college runs two types of courses – a 20-week course and a longer 40-week course – with intakes in September and March. There is a strong focus on education at the college and as well as undertaking their Phase 1 basic military training and having the opportunity to gain certificates in the Key Skills of Maths, English and IT, students also have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of sports and adventure training.
Lieutenant Colonel Hall said: “Those graduating have proved equal to the test, and they stand before you on parade, proud of their achievements, and looking forward to the next stage of training before joining their respective Battalions and Regiments.
“These soldiers represent the very best of our nation’s young people. I have no doubt that they are fully prepared for their second phase of training which will be every bit as important as what they have achieved to date. Looking ahead, I am certain that they will acquit themselves well in the Field Army. “
The college opened in 1998 and provides training for soldiers destined for all the Army’s many career paths.
For information about the Army Foundation College visit: https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/our-schools-and-colleges/afc-harrogate/