Portsmouth youths given job prospect boost thanks to army project

Jasmine Stanley and fellow candidate under Army canopy at Longmoor Camp
Jasmine Stanley and fellow candidate under Army canopy at Longmoor Camp

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UNEMPLOYED young people have been learning how to turn their lives around and get into work thanks to a new programme by the army.

A total of 17 youths from across the Portsmouth area took part in the six-week Armed Forces Employability Programme (AFEP).

Aimed at making those who are not in work or education more employable, the scheme was broken up to give young people a chance to learn what life in the military is like as well as speak to a number of local businesses and gain vocational skills.

The effort was run by the 11 Infantry Brigade civil engagement team in Aldershot and supported by army reservists from 106 Regiment Royal Artillery, which has a battery based in Hilsea.

Joe Weltch, 21, of Southsea, was one of those taking part and said the project had boosted his confidence.

‘I have grown up in foster care, so life has always been unstable,’ he said. ‘I wanted to do something with my life, the military has always interested me but it’s knowing what to expect and where to go.

‘One week here and I am already finding myself and so many doors are opening for me.’

New mum Jasmine Stanley, 19, of Fareham, said she wanted to make her life better for her little boy.

She said: ‘My background is not something I am proud of. I want my son’s childhood to be different and I want to be able to provide for him.

‘The military week was amazing, I feel happier in myself and I know I can make the necessary changes to make a better life for us.

‘My dream is to be a nurse; I’ve spoken to a few military people here who have confirmed what I need to do to get there.

‘I really hope to be that person in the field in a couple of years’ time saving peoples’ lives.’

This was the second time the programme has been held in the Solent area.

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Pennett, commanding officer of 106 Regiment Royal Artillery, said: ‘The AFEP programme is a fantastic way in which the Armed Forces can give back to the local community.’