A Portsmouth teenager is celebrating after her graduation at a military passing out parade at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Mia Willett, 17, joined hundreds of junior soldiers at the ceremony, which marks the completion of the soldiers’ British Army junior entry training at Uniacke Barracks.
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, infantry soldiers, as well as more technical specialists.
The prestigious ceremony is the culmination of many months of hard work and determination from all the junior soldiers graduating.
Their final training exercise was a gruelling 30-hour battle camp challenge across the Yorkshire Dales encompassing all the training they had learnt during their time at AFC Harrogate. They had also taken part in sporting activities such as canoeing, caving and climbing.
Mia, who will be going on to the Royal Artillery, 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.
‘Unlike a civilian 9-5 job, life in the Army offers variety and adventure, meaning I could get paid to learn to ski and travel the world, all part of my day job.
‘The course has been really hard work but the sense of achievement in graduating has made it worth it.
‘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.’
Unlike civilian jobs, the Army pays junior soldiers a full salary to train from day one, paying more than £1,000 a month.
As the UK’s largest apprenticeship provider, the Army offers junior soldiers training for over 40 technical trades in engineering, construction, IT, animal care, logistics and telecommunications and 500 different educational qualifications.