The first-ever military academy at a taxpayer-funded college in the UK will start next September.

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The academy, at Bicton College, has been set up in consultation with Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, and will be scrutinised by the Ministry of Defence.

There will be one course on offer - a unique, 25-week residential preparation course designed to help students interested in a career within one of the armed services.

It will teach the essential skills needed to give students a better chance of being recruited.

The programme, designed with younger or less mature students in mind, will give them an essential introduction into the rigours of military life.

Highly trained ex-military staff will help develop students’ self-esteem, independence, maturity, and leadership qualities.

Applicants will be aged up to 25, need to follow a strict dress code and required to meet specific academic, medical and fitness criteria.

While the aim of the programme is to prepare the majority of students for a career in the armed forces, the programme has also been designed to be expansive and progressive, providing opportunities for students to select alternative courses or career choices.

Bicton College principal David Henley said, ‘We believe this is an exciting and important project, not only for Bicton and the 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 training.”

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