Published: August 20, 2013
Young Burnham soldier, 17, graduates at prestigious army parade

A young soldier from Burnham-On-Sea has graduated from the Army Foundation College in a prestigious ceremony.

Rifleman Ben Rogers, 17, from Burnham, was one of nearly 700 junior soldiers to graduate from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire in a parade marking the culmination of a year of hard work and commitment.

The graduation ceremony coincides with a nationwide recruitment drive called 'Step Up', with the Army looking to recruit 10,000 new soldiers and officers into around 220 different roles.

The campaign looks to dispel the misconception that the Army is not recruiting after recent statistics revealed that only half of all people surveyed realised that the Army is looking for new recruits.

Rifleman Rogers joined hundreds of teenagers, who were cheered on by relatives and friends, who had travelled from all over the country to Uniacke Barracks to watch them on their special day.

The Army Foundation College (AFC) in Harrogate trains young people to become junior soldiers for the various Corps and Regiments of the Army. Junior entrants must be aged from 16 years to 17 years and 5 months on commencing training.

While at AFC Harrogate, recruits get the opportunity to combine military training whilst continuing education in key subjects such as numeracy and literacy. Adventurous training and sports are a key part of the curriculum.

Ben, who is going to be joining the Rifles and will continue his training at Catterick, told "A career in the Army is a chance of a lifetime, and I cannot wait to begin at Catterick. I am very proud and excited to be moving onto phase 2 of my training, where I will be able to develop further and gain invaluable leadership, teamwork and organisational skills."

The junior soldiers, who have undergone a unique combination of military skills and vocational qualifications, will now receive specialist phase 2 training. The Army offers young people a wide range of career choices ranging from combat roles to medical, engineering, HR and intelligence.

Brigadier Andrew Jackson, the 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."

The ‘Step Up’ campaign includes TV adverts which show the audience - through the perspective of a pair of iconic Army boots - the potential journey that any soldier might take whilst following a career in the Army and highlights what it can offer new recruits.

The campaign forms part of an improved system designed to streamline recruitment. Army jobs are now advertised in job centres, and applicants will be able to apply online from anywhere in the UK. The vast majority of the application process is now done online. All applications are administered through the dedicated National Recruiting Centre, where a mentor is assigned to each applicant to guide him or her through the process of joining the Regular Army or the Reserves. For more information about the job opportunities with the Army, see


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