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The Academy will be the first of its type within a publicly funded college of further education. The Academy programme has been designed in consultation with Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, and has been closely monitored by a number of departments within the Ministry of Defence.

The Academy, based in the outstanding setting of Bicton College, will host a unique 25 week residential preparation course. The course will help provide young learners interested in a career within the Armed Forces with the essential skills, environment and resources, including accommodation, to better prepare them in being successful in the recruitment process and ultimately initial military training in any of the three single services. The programme will be particularly appropriate for younger or less mature students, providing an essential introduction into the rigours of military life. Highly trained teaching and ex- military staff will use a variety of military training approaches in order to develop students’ self-esteem, independence, maturity, respect and leadership qualities. Although the aim of the programme is to prepare the majority of learners for a career in the Armed Forces, the programme has also been designed to be expansive and progressive, providing opportunities for learners to select alternative courses or career choices.

Bicton College Principal and Chief Executive David Henley said, ‘We believe that this is an exciting and important project, not only for Bicton and the Armed Forces, but potentially for wider society. Students will benefit from Bicton’s unique and supportive learning environment coupled with the benefit of gaining military insights and disciplines. Our Academy is set apart from other military preparation courses not just because ex-military staff will be delivering much of the subject matter but because of the fully residential nature of the programme. This approach will better prepare the learners, as separation from loved ones is recognised as one of the major risks for recruits not completing initial military training. Effectively, in the serious pursuit of what the Armed Forces quite rightly regard as “no ordinary career”, where better to prepare than through Bicton “no ordinary College”? “

A spokesperson from the MOD added, "This is an interesting initiative over which we will be keeping a watchful eye. We wish Bicton College and the learners, the very best of luck with this exciting opportunity, one from which we hope the Armed Forces will benefit."

Potential students will need to be medically fit, aged up to 25 and have a strong commitment to developing themselves both personally and academically. They will be required to meet specific academic, medical and fitness criteria, as well as following the Academy’s dress and conduct codes. Student fitness will be closely monitored against performance over a 1.5 mile run, basic sit-ups and basic press-ups; they will be required to demonstrate improvement in their fitness throughout their time at the Academy.

For further information on Bicton College please visit

For further press information please contact:
Sarah Wolf, diablo PR - 07812 099243 / 01373 471849 /

There will be a launch event on 17th January 2012 in London - please contact Sarah Wolf for further information.

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