Army Foundation College
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|Army Foundation College Harrogate (AFC(H))|
|Active||1947–1996 (as the Army Apprentices School, Harrogate)
3 August 1998–to date
|Role||Phase 1 Training Establishment|
|Size||~1,300 soldiers under training
~500 permanent staff
|Part of||Initial Training Group (ITG)|
|Location||Uniacke Barracks, Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate HG3 2SE|
|Motto||Trust, Courage, Team Spirit|
|Colours||Red, Yellow & Green|
|Commanding Officer||Lt Col S Lane - Rifles|
The Army Foundation College in Harrogate (abbreviated AFC(H)) trains future soldiers from the infantry, armoured corps, artillery and elements of the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC). School-leavers aged between 16 and 17 years and five months of age are eligible to join. The AFC(H) offers young men and women the opportunity to learn as they earn experience in battle. Through military training and vocational education, soldiers under training gain the soldiering skills needed for the British Army.
Situated in Uniacke Barracks, which is located in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, AFC(H) opened in 1998. The barracks was notably and continually used for trainee junior soldiers from 1947 until August 1996 as a part of the Army Apprentices School, Harrogate, which was later renamed to the Army Apprentices College, Harrogate.
The mission of the AFC(H) is to train and educate junior soldiers in order to
- meet the output standards required by Common Military Syllabus (H)
- provide the necessary inflow to Phase 2
- inculcate and develop the habit of soldiering
- develop recognisable leadership potential
All soldiers under training must complete Phase 1 training before moving on to a Phase 2 (special to arms) training establishment.
Training for a soldier includes:
- skill at arms – learning to use the Army's infantry weapon, the SA80 A2
- fieldcraft – learning to live, eat and survive in the field
- chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defence – learning to survive and fight in a contaminated environment
- first aid – learning to treat casualties in a battlefield situation
- physical fitness – a structured programme to improve physical fitness with sessions in the gym as well as swimming, sports and other outdoor activities.
On top of the basic Phase 1 course, which lasts for 20 weeks, junior soldiers undertake an extra 22 weeks at AFC(H); during these extra weeks, junior soldiers take classes that include vocational education, military studies, and leadership and initiative training, all of which are taken before any further trade training at the appropriate arms and service-specific Phase 2 training school.
Treated as adult learners, all soldiers under training at AFC(H) undertake vocational education (VE), designed to help young soldiers train for their future jobs within whichever cap badge they have chosen. The VE programme has proven to aid promotion for soldiers trained at AFC(H). Wherever possible, learning materials will involve real military documents, exercises and working situations.
The AFC(H) tries to gain all soldiers under training additional qualifications and tutors are employed to aid course planning. Additional learning support is available for soldiers with specific learning difficulties or basic skills deficiencies.
Soldiers may have an apprenticeship for IT Users, which includes a Level 2 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ2). There is also the opportunity to gain modules of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).
Application of Number and Communication Skills is a Maths and English class used in an Army career. Soldiers with no previous qualifications will reach Level 1 or Level 2 (GCSE standard). Those with a GCSE or equivalent pass already will work towards Level 3.
Soldiers capbadged to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Royal Engineers will do an additional technical course that includes another NVQ2 in Performing Engineering Operations (PEO2), involving work in the workshops.
Military studies (MS) instructor officers from the Educational and Training Services Branch teach soldiers about the military. The subjects taught include:
- the role of the British army
- government and the armed forces – the United Kingdom's system of government and its relationship with the armed forces
- army and the media
- terrorism – types of terrorism and tactics used by both sides
- modern conflicts – including the Afghan and Iraq wars
In addition to the classroom education, all Junior Soldiers visit Normandy, France on a 'Realities of War' tour to see the core values in the actions of those that fought in the Invasion of Normandy. The officers and NCOs from Harrogate, many of them veterans of operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, compare their own experiences to those of the soldiers who fought during the D-Day campaign.
Leadership and initiative training
Leadership and initiative training (L&IT) aims to take soldiers to develop them as team leaders and team members. This development takes place over five one-week packages spread over the year so that soldiers have a chance to consolidate and build on areas before returning.
The packages are:
- Package 1 and 3 – introduction to hillwalking, caving, kayaking/canoeing and rock climbing
- Package 2 – introduction to planning, command tasks, ex sangin resupply, high ropes and final race
- Package 4 - navigation, ex team challenge, march and shoot, ex fast track and final race
- Package 5 – Duke of Edinburgh expedition, ex junior long reach and final challenge
Permanent staff (PS) are mostly from the British Army and represent what most capbadges have to offer. The PS represent their parent unit whilst serving at AFC(H).
Whilst "character development" is what the AFC seeks to achieve with soldiers under training, "command development" is the term used for the training that members of permanent staff must undertake. Training includes mandatory professional development, providing the motivational tools to help leaders/instructors gain the best from soldiers under training, and teaching and coaching qualifications.
- Association of Harrogate Apprentices – includes a general history of Uniacke Barracks
- Selection and Training in the British Army
- Will Fowler: Pegasus Bridge: Bénouville D-Day 1944. Oxford (2010). ISBN 978-1-84603-848-8.
- Army Foundation College, Harrogate - on British Army official website
- Lieutenant General Sir Herbert Uniacke KCB KCMG