Darlington College salutes latest recruits who are off to serve their country (From The Northern Echo)
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Darlington College salutes latest recruits who are off to serve their country
A COLLEGE has saluted its latest set of recruits as they prepare to embark upon careers in the armed forces.
Five students from Darlington College’s uniformed public services course have successfully passed a strict selection and interview processes to be accepted into the military.
Charlotte Cooke, 20, Mark Johnstone, 17, Anthony Askew, 17, and Samantha Haigh, 19, have each accepted a commission within the Royal Navy and Rajan Bura, 18, will join the British Army.
The two year Darlington College diploma course, run by ex-forces personnel, offers a unique combination of public service skills, academic achievement and life skills to provide a stepping stone into the military, public services, further education or wider employment.
Tutor and former soldier Gary Paxton, who saw action in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia, and the Middle East during his 23 years in the British Army, said: “To have this number of students from one year group accepted into the armed forces is quite exceptional.”
Chantelle, Mark and Anthony will each undertake 10 weeks of basic training at HMS Raleigh before beginning their professional training to become aircraft handlers for the Royal Navy.
Samantha will also undergo her basic preparation at HMS Raleigh before training as a medical assistant and Rajan will move to Winchester to train as an army air dispatcher.
“I did my work experience at school in an office and knew straight away that it wasn’t for me,” said Rajan, of Darlington.
“This course, as well as helping to improve my physical fitness, really helped me to decide where I wanted my career to go and I can’t wait to start my basic training.”
Mark, of Catterick, the son of a serving soldier, has decided not to following in his father’s footsteps but to take an alternative route to serving his country through the Royal Navy.
“My dad has been in the army for 26 years and I wanted to join the military too but after listening to his experiences I decided that the Royal Navy would be better suited to me.”
As well as helping students access employment in the Royal Navy and the British Army, the uniformed public services course also provides career opportunities within the Royal Marines, Royal Air Force, the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Ambulance Service, HM Customs and Excise and the Prison Service, as well as a stepping stone to university.
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