News Article

Colchester to become centre for would-be-Paras

A Training and Adventure news article

5 Mar 08

Colchester Garrison, home to 16 Air Assault Brigade, is set to become the centre for all potential candidates wishing to recruit into The Parachute Regiment.

Para Cap Badge

All those wanting to join the Paras will be able to experience life as a Para at Colchester Garrison
[Picture: Corporal Jon Ryder]

Starting next week, anyone interested in joining the elite Paras from anywhere in the country or the world will be able to get a taste of Para life in Colchester following a new restructured programme of activity.

The new activities include an insight weekend, a three-day mid-week course and a one-day experience. With an estimated 50 courses to be run each year at the new Merville Barracks, more than 1,200 young men will be given the opportunity to see if they have what it takes to become a member of the elite Parachute Regiment.

The new course format includes:

  • A two-day Insight Course which is open to all 16- to 33-year-olds across the country and gives a unique insight into life in one of the toughest regiments in the world. The Parachute Regiment is the British Army's elite assault troops and as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade they are the spearhead troops who deploy at a moment's notice.
  • The three-day Personal Development Course is designed to give the potential Para recruit a chance to spend time in the field and to be introduced to the survival skills required of a modern soldier. They will also be put through their paces physically and experience scenarios that one day, as a serving Paratrooper, they may come across somewhere in the world.
  • The one-day Action Day gives any youngsters interested in joining The Army or The Parachute Regiment a brief, but informative, opportunity to experience a day with the Paras. They will be introduced to the fitness requirements of the Army, and kit and equipment of the modern soldier, and will see what it takes to live and work in the great outdoors. They will also be given a chance to tackle the assault course and build team work and leadership skills in a programme aimed at young people considering a career in the Forces.
Parachutists deploying

Members of The Parachute Regiment could be dropped into trouble hot spots around the world
[Picture: Richard Watt]

Captain Rob Francis, who runs the Parachute Regiment Recruiting Team at Colchester Garrison, explained:

"With the launch of the new programme we are looking forward to welcoming potential recruits to Colchester and giving them a unique opportunity to spend time with the Paras here in Colchester. Activities will involve physical tests, mental and physical challenges on the assault course and command tasks to test team working and problem solving.

"Paras are not supermen, they are ordinary men who volunteered and were built up physically and mentally through a robust and demanding training regime. They are elite, they are professional, they are men with unique stories to tell."

In their pursuit for the right men to join their ranks The Parachute Regiment recruits from all around the world, with many Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and South Africans serving today.


Paras must achieve a high level of fitness
[Picture: Richard Watt]

Colchester has been home to The Parachute Regiment since the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, as well as the Regimental Headquarters, moved to Colchester Garrison in 1999. Colchester is also home to the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

The 28-week training course for The Parachute Regiment, including the famous P Company selection, takes place at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.

More than 1,000 members of The Parachute Regiment, based at Colchester Garrison, will be deploying to Helmand province, southern Afghanistan over the next few weeks. Around 500 troops each from 2nd and 3rd Battalions will serve for six months as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade which takes over the UK Task Force role in Helmand in April.

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