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Soldier Josh Downes graduates with top honour from Army Foundation College in Harrogate
A 17-year-old junior soldier from York was awarded a prestigious prize when he graduated from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
Josh Downes received the prize for the Best Junior Soldier in the Infantry after completing a 42-week course that combined vocational education and military training.
Since 2000, the College has awarded more than 10,000 Apprenticeships and pass rates are above the national average. In addition, soldiers with no previous qualifications can work towards a GCSE equivalent in English and Mathematics.
Lieutenant Colonel Khashi Sharifi, the Ccllege’s commanding officer.
“The prize awarded to Junior Soldier Downes is the culmination of 12 months of hard work and dedication. He can be rightly proud of his achievements at the college and the college staff and myself wish him well as he goes forward to the second phase of his training.”
General Sir Peter Wall, the Army’s Chief of the General Staff presented Josh with his award at Uniacke Barracks in Penny Pot Lane.
Josh, a former pupil of Millthorpe School who will join the Coldstream Guards, said: “I’m so pleased, especially as I’d already been awarded the Junior Company Sergeant Major appointment.”
“It’s such an honour to be picked - I’m absolutely over the moon! My whole family came to see the parade and my nans and my mum were so proud.”
The soldiers undertake a number of adventurous training activities, as well as physical and mental challenges. They have just returned from their ten-day final exercise in Garelochhead, the culmination of their fieldcraft and military skills training.
“I really can’t wait to get to Battalion and see what life’s like in the real Army. When I get there I’d like to become a PTI (Physical Training Instructor) but my next big hurdle is going to be the infantry phase of my training in Catterick. I don’t quite know what to expect, but I’m pretty sure it will be hard work. In the meantime I am looking forward to a good rest over leave.”
The college opened in 1998 and provides training for soldiers destined for all the Army’s many career paths.