A Junior Soldier from Cwmbach, near Aberdare, received a top prize when he graduated from the prestigious Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
Jarrad Jones (18) was awarded the Conductors Cup, for being the best Junior Solider from the Royal Logistic Corps on the 42-week course.
Jarrad joined the Army Foundation College in March last year for a unique course combining vocational education and military training.
“When I was called to the office to be told I’d won the cup, I thought I must be in trouble,” said Jarrad, a former pupil of Aberdare High School, “but then to be told I was being recognised for my hard work was brilliant.
“Joining the Army is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and the opportunities have been amazing.
“I feel like I’m part of a big family now and working together to achieve any challenge is a good feeling.”
Over 81 per cent of the Junior Soldiers who joined the 42 week course were successful, marching off the parade square towards the second phase of their training in the Infantry, Royal Artillery and Royal Armoured Corps.
On the course, Jarrad gained a Duke of Edinburgh’s award and a National Vocational Qualification in Key Skills at level 2.
“The prize awarded to Jarrad is the culmination of many months of hard work and dedication,” said Lieutenant Colonel Oz Lane, the College’s Commanding Officer.
“He can be rightly proud of his achievements at the College, and the staff and I wish him well as he goes forward to the second phase of his training which he hopes will be with 2 Logistic Support Regiment.”
The General Officer Commanding 3 UK Division, Major General James Cowan CBE DSO, inspected the 450-strong parade and presented Junior Soldier Jones with his award.
“I’ve really been pushed out of my comfort zone on this course,” admitted Jarrad, “and I’ve completed challenges I never thought I could achieve.
“I’m fitter now than before and I’ve realised working in a team is essential.”
Junior Soldiers work on their leadership and team skills as part of the College’s personal and team development package. They undertake a number of adventurous training activities, as well as physical and mental challenges, culminating in a 30 hour challenge patrol in the Yorkshire Dales or Scotland. The students are also given the opportunity to sample a wide variety of sports promoting fitness and agility.
The college opened in 1998 and accommodates 1,344 Junior Soldiers. It also trains Junior Soldiers on a shorter 23 week course.
For more information go to www.army.mod.uk/training_education/24420.aspx.