Army Foundation College

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Army Foundation College Harrogate
AFC Logo
Active 1947–1996 (as the Army Apprentices School, Harrogate)
3 August 1998–to date
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
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(s) Trust, Courage, Team Spirit
Colours Red, Yellow & Green               
Commanding Officer Lt Col Will Strickland OBE

The Army Foundation College is located in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. It is the only British Army Phase 1 establishment that delivers junior entry basic training (males and females aged between 16–17). Given the age of the junior soldiers and the comparatively greater time they have at the College, there is a far wider focus than simply military training (such as education, leadership and initiative training, adventurous training and sport and skill).[1]


The Royal Signals Apprentices School was established in Harrogate to provide of military and vocational training for the Royal Corps of Signals, Royal Artillery (RA) and Royal Engineers (RE) in 1947 and was renamed the Army Apprentices College in 1961 when the RA and RE were re-located. It was focused on Royal Signals training until it closed in 1998.[2] It reopened as the Army Foundation College to provide training for a broader range of combat arms and services in September 1998.[2] The Association of Harrogate Apprentices was reformed in 1999.[3] The Army Foundation College was rebuilt by Jarvis under a Private finance initiative contract between 2000 and 2002.[2]


Welcoming board to the Army Apprentices School, Harrogate in March 1965
The Army Foundation College in August 2006

There are two courses:[4]

  • The Junior soldiers on the longer 42-week course marched off the square to the second phase of their training in the Infantry, Royal Artillery and Royal Armoured Corps.There are 2 different entry points and graduations per year – September and March entry points with August and February graduations respectively.
  • Junior Soldiers on the shorter 22-week course designed for other cap badges will head for the longer more specialist phase of their training which could be anything from being a vehicle mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to becoming a communications systems operator with the Royal Signals.[5] There are 2 different entry points and graduations per year – September and March entry points with August and February graduation respectively.


Junior soldiers can study towards getting vocational qualifications in Maths, English and IT.[6] where subjects are tailored to practical applications.[7] Through military training and vocational education, soldiers at the college gain the soldiering skills needed for the British Army. TQ Pearson is responsible for delivering the vocational education and other parts of the skills training to learners at the AFC.[8]

Junior soldiers graduation

On graduation, 100 per cent of the Junior Soldiers had achieved Level One English, while 86 per cent had gained a level two qualification which is the equivalent of a GCSE A*-C.The college also had a ‘tremendous success rate’ with Maths, with 62 per cent of the teenagers arriving with Level One or below but, on gradation, 95 per cent had achieved a Level One and 68 per cent had Level Two.[9]

See also[edit]

Army Foundation College gates


  1. ^ "Army Foundation College Harrogate – Regiment History, War & Military Records & Archives". Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Army Foundation College, Harrogate – History" (PDF). Method Publishing. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Colonel Cliff Walters. Army apprentices Harrogate. halsgrove. p. 156. ISBN 1 84114 2182. 
  4. ^ "British Army Phase 1: Initial Military Training". Boot Camp and Military Fitness Institute. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "500 junior soldiers graduate from the Army Foundation College". Harrogate Informer. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "Junior Soldier at Army Foundation College". Plotr. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Williams, Zoe (21 February 2014). "Why an army education is hard not to admire | Zoe Williams". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "What's New? | TQ Education & Training". Retrieved 1 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Hundreds of Junior Soldiers pass-out at Harrogate’s Army Foundation College". Retrieved 1 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°59′38″N 1°35′51″W / 53.9939°N 1.5974°W / 53.9939; -1.5974