Do you have what it takes? College helping students start Armed Services career moves to bigger venue

A rise in the number of recruits has led a military school to move into a bigger venue.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 11:45 am

The Military Preparation College in South Shields – one of 35 across the UK - has moved from its base within South Tyneside College to Sunderland’s Beacon of Light, just next to the Stadium of Light.

Staff say the move to the £19million sports, community and education centre will not only expand its facilities but also help it meet rising demand for places.

The college, which is one of four in the North East, offers free courses to help 16 to 19-year-olds, of all abilities and from all backgrounds into a wide range of careers, both within the military and in civilian life.

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Standing with students at the Beacon of Light, from left to right, Craig Hepburn training instructor, Laurence ‘Ronnie’ Corbett, regional operations manager, motivational preparation college for training (North), Connan Cuthbertson MPCT Sunderland Centre manager and Stephen, forrest skills tutor.

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These include academic, functional and health and fitness courses along with training in physical fitness, public speaking and communication.

And they are unique in that all their instructors are ex-British Armed Forces personnel, who use their military backgrounds to help learners set and reach the targets that will progress them to their chosen careers.

Funded by the Department for Education, they have been awarded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and North East area manager and former Sandhurst instructor, Laurence ‘Ronnie’ Corbett, said the move is great news for the region.

“The North East has a long and very proud tradition of Armed Service and that is still the case,” he said.

“As public awareness of the vast number of careers available within the military has grown, we have seen a significant increase in enquiries from young people.

“And not only will the Beacon of Light enable us to increase our intake to 75 recruits, but with that extra space come fantastic facilities, shared values and a very strong community network,” he added.

He also thanked South Tyneside College which he said was a “great base” as a launch pad for its work.

Since their launch in 1999, the colleges have prepared more than 4000 young people for a military career and helped at least a further 12,000 into other areas of employment and training.

There are also colleges in Newcastle, Teesside, Bishop Auckland and Teesside in the North East.

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