A SPECIALIST academy to prepare young people for a career in the armed forces  has opened in Darlington.

The Academy for Military Preparation is a funded course for young people aged between 16 and 19 who would like to join the Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force.

The specialist facility, which is based at Darlington’s Neasham Road Army Reserve Centre, is run by a company called Seetec and was opened by the town’s MP Peter Gibson.

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He said: “It was great to visit the new Academy for Military Preparation on Neasham Road. This new service will be valuable in helping to prepare the next generation of armed forces personnel, giving young people from the local area the training and support they need to start their careers. 

“The UK’s armed forces take part in combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions around the world, defending the country and promoting our interests.

“A career in the armed forces can be incredibly varied, challenging and highly rewarding, and I would encourage young people considering such a move to find out more about this local service.”

Young people who sign up to the course will have access to a working military base, use of its fitness suite and access to specialist equipment.

The course will feature training and support from ex-forces personnel to provide young people with the most valuable knowledge, skills and disciplines needed to prepare them for the armed forces recruitment and selection process. 

The academy offers accredited provision at level 2 in Preparation for the Military, with a varied curriculum including the values and standards of the British military, fitness training, field craft, weapon handling and research into the job roles available in the armed forces. 

The five-month course also focuses on support with CV writing, interview techniques and functional skills in English and maths to ensure recruits are fully prepared and confident about the selection process ahead.

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Boran Stratham, from Thirsk, who is learning at the academy in Darlington, said he was enjoying his time in training. He added: “It is great to be on a working military site and I really enjoy being part of something like this. I have grown in confidence and improved my skills and awareness of the military.”

The facility is run by Seetec Outsource, which has three academies in the North East and Yorkshire, including York and Middlesbrough, and plans to open more this year.

Suki Binning, Seetec executive director of justice, social Care and skills, said: “There is already a demand for this training, and we hope to encourage more individuals to join the course and move into a military career.

“The academy will train young people in all of the essential skills required to be a part of the armed forces, providing a great start to their military career.”

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