Junior soldier from Wallsend graduates

Josh Smith. Picture by Richard Watt
Josh Smith. Picture by Richard Watt

A junior soldier from Wallsend celebrated his graduation in a military passing out parade at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

The passing-out parade, which took place last week, 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 and infantry soldiers, as well as more technical specialists

Junior soldier Josh Smith, from Wallsend, studied at Churchill Community College, and will go on to serve with the Coldstream Guards.

He said: “Graduating from AFC Harrogate in front of my friends and family is something that I am very proud of doing.

“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.”

The prestigious passing out ceremony is the culmination of months of hard work from all the junior soldiers graduating.

Their final training exercise consisted of an intense seven-day battle camp at training areas across the UK.

Lieutenant Colonel WJ Strickland, Commanding Officer AFC Harrogate, said: “All the junior soldiers passing out today should be proud of all that they have achieved during their time at AFC Harrogate.”

He added: “The training these junior 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.”