On Thursday 1st July, 18 year old James Abbott became the first Derbyshire student on the Army's Further Education Bursary Scheme (FEBS) to swear his Oath of Allegiance and move one step closer to his career in the Army.
James attended the ceremony with his mum and younger sister at the Derby Army Careers Information Office where he pledged his allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen before Captain Netty Cox, Careers Advisor for Nottingham and Derby. The Oath of Allegiance is a tradition conducted by the Army and performed by all recruits to demonstrate their dedication to the Army prior to training.
James successfully completed his two year Public Services National Diploma at Derby College (formerly South East Derbyshire College) and is due to start his basic training at Bassingbourn at the end of July, before learning his trade as a Building and Structural Finisher.
James said: "I'm so pleased I've finally been given the chance to pledge my oath and I can't wait to get out in the field and start my training. I'm glad I went through FEBS as it gave me the opportunity to go on various training courses which have helped prepare me for my Army career. I went on a four week expedition to Norway last summer and more recently spent a week with the Royal Engineers where I was able to see my trade in action. Not only this, but my bursary has given me qualifications for life.”
Laura Sullivan, James' mother, said: "Although I was slightly apprehensive at first, I have no doubt that this is what James was meant to do with his life. James' father was in the Army and given the chance, I believe he would have chosen to join through FEBS too because it offers educational development before giving bursars a guaranteed place in the Army. The support from the Army has been great and I'm very proud of what James has achieved."
Captain Netty Cox, Army Careers Advisor for Nottingham and Derby, said: "FEBS is a considered approach for anyone wanting to join the Army but also continue in education. It gives students on FEBS a chance to explore the trades the Army offers, whilst gaining life experience before their enlistment. James has demonstrated excellent character and will make a great solider."
The Further Education Bursary Scheme is open to anyone aged between 16 and 32 who is either already enrolled in, or looking to progress into further education. With over 140 different subjects to choose, from administration to music, there is something to offer everyone.
The scheme is worth up to £5,000. £1,000 is awarded to students for each year they are at college (up to four years) and a further £1,000 is awarded on completion of the first stage of Army training (14 weeks).
For more information on FEBS or the 140 different career options available as a soldier in the Regular or Territorial Army call the Nottingham Army Careers Information Office on 0115 947 3629 or visit www.armyjobs.mod.uk