First group of soldiers graduate with flying colours

Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Kathleen Connor.

A group of soldiers graduated this week from the University of Portsmouth – the first ever cohort sponsored by the British Army to study the degree level Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA).

The 24-strong group achieved degrees in Business Leadership and Management as part of the national apprenticeships scheme, with an amazing 19 first-class honours degrees being awarded to the soldiers.

The CMDA provides a challenging learning and development opportunity aimed at up-skilling some key Army personnel. Targeted at the Army’s senior soldiers, who are often in key leadership appointments, the University of Portsmouth CMDA has added significantly to the knowledge and skills of those graduating today. Knowledge and skills that will be directly used to lead, inspire, educate and better manage current and future British Army personnel.

Degree Apprenticeships Programme Director, Becky Quew-Jones, said: “This course has been designed so that students can develop leadership and management skills and earn a degree while working full time.

“Our Army apprentices have been remarkable, and they have worked incredibly hard balancing their operational duties with their academic studies. I am very proud of what they have achieved.”

Graduate Daniel Stafford, Squadron Corporal Major of The Life Guards within the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the University. Words cannot convey how life-changing and rewarding both personally and professionally the experience has been.”

The soldiers have combined academic study with practical on-the-job experience and employment skills needed to further develop a successful military career. As with all level six apprenticeships, students can gain a degree without paying tuition fees, while developing skills valuable to their employer.

The soldiers from the group were located all over the world – from Cyprus to Afghanistan – with many studying remotely, while continuing to carry out their operational duties overseas.

Colonel Kate George MBE of the Army HQ’s Learning and Development department said: “Apprenticeships play a critical part in developing the skills of our soldiers. Building on military education and training, the CMDA enables soldiers to integrate business best practice with their military experience. Our first cohort to graduate has excelled. I’m so pleased to see their hard work and dedication has resulted in such outstanding results; huge congratulations to one and all.”

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