Gosport army instructor wins award for inspiring junior soldiers

Corporal Mataiasi Covu with his award Picture: Sergeant Jamie Peters RLC
Corporal Mataiasi Covu with his award Picture: Sergeant Jamie Peters RLC
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A British Army instructor from Gosport has received a prize for inspiring junior soldiers at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

Corporal Mataiasi Covu, 34, originally from Fiji, won the award for his inspirational leadership at the prestigious college.

The college runs a unique course combining both vocational education and military training – where the junior soldiers work on their leadership and team skills.

Mataiasi said he loves working with the junior soldiers and that many of them have now gone on to graduate from the college.

He said: ‘To get this prize felt like winning the lottery – I was so happy and emotional!’

The course involves a number of different elements in order to train the junior soliders in all areas.

They undertake a number of adventurous training activities and complete a 30-hour challenge patrol across the Yorkshire Dales. They also have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of sports, which test both their fitness and agility.

The graduation parade at Uniacke Barracks marks the end of the course, with thousands of relatives and friends watching as the junior soldiers passed off the square.

‘The graduation parade is the culmination of months of hard work and dedication both by the junior soldiers and the college staff who train them,’ said Lieutenant Colonel William Strickland, the college’s Commanding Officer.

He said: ‘The junior soldiers can justly be proud of their achievements at the college, and the staff and I wish them well as they go forward to the second phase of their training at different establishments throughout the country.’

Lieutenant General James Bashall, commander of the army’s personnel and support command, inspected the junior soldiers, presented prizes and took the salute as the military parade marched past the dais.

Many have just returned from their final exercise in Scotland – an arduous exercise and the culmination of their fieldcraft and military skills training.