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The Duke of Edinburgh Award Inspired me to Join the Army

A lot of my childhood growing up I spent a lot of it either hiking around with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme groups in the Lake District - my Dad was an outdoor education instructor before he retired - or doing things like skiing, climbing, all sorts of fun stuff! It was definitely a driver to me wanting to join the Army.

I did mechanical engineering at Portsmouth University and where my peers were going just didn’t interest me. I just wanted something else that was different. I had always considered the Army because of my upbringing and a life outdoors so I went to see the Southampton University Officer Training Corps. It was the people I met there that drove me to join the Army. It was a group of like-minded people that I hadn’t found anywhere else at all who were all willing to get stuck into the same sort of activities I wanted to do, things like going out at weekends and living under a poncho - that was the sort of people I could get along with.

My past year at the Sandhurst is not what I thought it would be like. The Covid pandemic meant I missed out on some of the Sandhurst-isms, things that a lot of the previous cadets will remember quite fondly, but for us it has been a pretty good test and example of how resilient the people that come here are. The fact that they are willing to lock themselves away in a camp for three months at a time whilst striving to get this job, that’s quite something. It has definitely pushed me.

I’m going to be going into the Royal Engineers. It is such a large corps with a wide variety of things I can do which gives me the ability to move about, see where I work best and the sort of people I work best with. I would not want to get stuck into any one specific discipline and that is me set for the rest of my life.

It is especially poignant that the day I passed out was the day the Duke of Edinburgh died considering the Award played a large part in my path towards a career in the Army.