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School for soldiers

Army top brass are to open what amounts to an FE college for trainee soldiers to combat the shortage of suitably-qualified recruits. The Ministry of Defence is inviting bidders under the Private Finance Initiative to fund it.

Defence Secretary Michael Portillo launched the new Army Foundation College this week. The college, in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, will train 1,300 16 and 17 year-olds.

Students will be taught to national vocational qualification level two or three in maths, communications, information technology, problem-solving and teamwork. Traditional military training in drill, weapons, fitness and survival techniques will make up the bulk of the one-year residential courses. All students will be paid and those who complete the one-year programme will be offered jobs in the Army.

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