“THE achievements of young people at a military academy in Hull have been recognised at a celebratory event.
Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis and Lord Mayor of Hull, Councillor Danny Brown, were guests of honour at the Quality Personal Development Military and Sports Academy (QPD) at the Hub in Goulton Street, off Hessle Road, on Saturday.
The event saw dozens of young students parade before Mr Davis, Cllr Brown and recruiting officer for South Yorkshire Major Adrian Mycroft.
A certification ceremony then took place during which the guests spoke to many of the students before embarking on a tour of the QPD facilities.
Parents, friends and families of students also attended the celebration.
Mr Davis, who spent time in the Territorial Army, believes the QPD provides a future for young people in Hull.
He said: “This is fantastically important. It was quite moving when speaking to the young people.
“I spoke to one young man who was more than 18st before he joined and now he is slimmer than me.
“Many of them come from quite tough backgrounds and this facility is a new family for them.
“I left home when I was still at school and the Army provided me with a new family.
“It did me good as a young man.”
Many of the students will now embark on a life in the Armed Forces.
Mr Davis said: “Academies like this meet a huge need and it’s something everyone involved with should be proud of.
“They will be joining a huge tradition of public service and this is what makes Britain great.”
Entry to the armed services has become tougher due to public sector funding cuts.
QPD seeks to combat some of the wider issues around Hull’s young adults and help them fulfil their potential through achieving careers in the Armed Forces.
Barriers to success regularly include combinations of obesity, fitness issues, drug misuse, lack of confidence and insufficient qualifications or military knowledge. QPD helps them overcome these obstacles.
Ben Dean, 19, of east Hull, is one of the students who has benefited from the course and is now set to join the Royal Marines.
He said: “I have been at the college for two years.
“It has taught me a range of things from simple things like how to polish my boots but also it has helped me pass my maths and English exams.
“It has also boosted my confidence. Before, I struggled to talk to people but now it’s difficult to get me to shut up.
“I am really looking forward to joining the Marines for basic training in six weeks.
“This is what I have wanted to do since I was 14 years old.
“My dad was in the RAF but he died. I would like to think he would be proud of me right now.”
Cllr Brown also hailed the work of the academy.
He said: “Having had the opportunity to speak to these kids you realise what an opportunity this gives them.
“They have taken that opportunity and they really seem to be enjoying it.
“Here, they are treated like adults and they are given respect, which they have responded to. It is a fantastic place.” “