New Mills teenager Alice soldiers on in Army career

Alice Bancroft, 17
Alice Bancroft, 17

A young woman from New Mills has become one of the Army’s new generation after completing basic training and celebrating the traditional passing out parade.

Alice Bancroft, 17, was among hundreds of soldiers who graduated on August 14 at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Passing out marks the completion of junior entry training at Uniacke Barracks.

Alice said: “Graduating in front of my friends and family is something that I am very proud of doing.

“The course has been really hard work but the sense of achievement in graduating has made it worth it.”

Graduates will now go on to serve in various corps and regiments to begin the next part of specialist training.

Junior Entry soldiers go on to become engineers, IT specialists, infantry soldiers, as well as more technical specialists.

Alice has a place lined up with the Royal Logistics Corps and feels prepared and raring to go after learning so much already.

She said: “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.

“I’ve been paid well for someone of my age and I’ve got some really useful qualifications. I’m looking forward to the next stage of my career.”

The prestigious ceremony concludes of months of hard work and determination.

Soldiers’ final training exercise is a gruelling, 30-hour battle camp challenge across the Yorkshire Dales, testing all the skills and knowledge taught on the course.

Every year, AFC Harrogate trains 1,350 school-leavers, with two intakes in March and September.

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 qualifications.

There is plenty to look forward to beyond training too, said Alice: “Unlike a civilian 9-5 job, life in the Army offers variety and adventure. I could get paid to learn to ski and travel the world, all part of my day job.”

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