From a village on the edge of Dartmoor to answering to Queen Elizabeth II as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery, one Devon student has realised her dreams through hard work and dedication.
Seventeen-year-old Ashleigh Parsons from Yelverton has just completed her British Army Infantry training, earning herself a place in the prestigious Royal Artillery.
Having attended South Dartmoor Community College, Ashleigh went on to join Bicton College’s Military Academy from 2015-2016. She completed a BTEC Level 3 in Public Services during her time at Bicton, and was one of the first females to take part in the Royal Marines ‘Look at Life’ course at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone.
“It felt pretty awesome to be the first female to be accepted to join in on the ‘Look at Life’ day,” Ashleigh said.
“The Marines were very welcoming and they treated me as an equal – I was expected to take part in all the activities. I thought the day was absolutely brilliant and it definitely added to my desire to be a woman in the forces!”
Team Lead for Military and Public Services, Scott Lawson said that during Ashleigh’s time spent with the Royal Marines, “her achievement helped to celebrate equality and support future female entry into the Armed Forces”.
“There is a determination to achieve gender equality within the forces and it’s great to see people like Ashleigh breaking down boundaries.”
Already with a strong interest in joining the Armed Forces, and further inspired by her Marine experience, Ashleigh set her sights firmly on British Army once she had completed her training at Bicton College.
Phil le Grice, Principal of Bicton College, said “we are hugely proud to have supported Ashleigh through her training”.
“Everyone at Bicton wants to congratulate her on her success – the British Army have gained a fantastic young woman,” he added.
There are plenty of employment opportunities for women within the armed forces, which are ever increasing as society works towards gender equality.
“I absolutely love my new career – the pay, the opportunities and the lifestyle is amazing,” Ashleigh added.
“The Military Academy at Bicton College taught me the discipline and physical and mental preparation I needed to succeed in my training.”
To find out more about the range of Military and Public Services courses available at Bicton College visit www.bicton.ac.uk or call 0845 60 50 455.