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Public Services students from the Basildon Campus of South Essex College had their physical and mental ability tested recently as they were put through their paces at Colchester Army barracks.

Over 25 students on Level 1 and Level 2 Diploma Public Services spent the day taking part in physical training activities including press ups, sand bag lifting, carrying 20kg weights and completing an assault course by working as a team.

Lecturer in Public Services, Steve Watson, said: “The trip was a fantastic opportunity to give students a real taste of the Army application process because everything they did on the day is what they really do in training. We had feedback saying our students were the most engaged group they’d seen for a long time. Despite the heavy rain there was no moaning; all of the students thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Colchester Garrison is currently home to the 16th Air Assault Brigade; a formation of the British Army’s rapid response airborne formation and only Operational Brigade in the British Army capable of delivering Air Manoeuvre, Air Assault and Airborne Operations.

As well as taking part in the physical and mental challenges the students also had a chance to put their questions on Army life to the experts. BTEC Level 2 Diploma Public Services student Chris McAnulty, 17, from Canvey, was one student who found the day especially useful as he is hoping to follow in his dad’s footsteps and embark on a career in the military.

He said: “Ever since I was 13 I’ve dreamt of a career in the Army because my dad was in the Royal Artillery, so speaking to the Paratroopers on the day really helped me make up my mind about what I want to do. Since the trip I’ve even picked up my application form!”

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