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  1. ITV Report

Huddersfield teenagers get a taste of army life

Teenagers from Huddersfield have been building basher shelters and sampling military rations as part of an Army taster weekend in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

The 22 young people aged between 14 and 19 years have been developing life skills under a youth programme being run by the Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance (HCPA) and the British Army in parts of Huddersfield.

The specially designed weekend allowed them to try their hand at military fieldcraft and problem-solving skills as well trying out paintballing and a laser range.

I quite liked the close combat range that we did and I am looking forward to the assault course that we are going to do today.

I put my name down for the weekend as I thought it would be a good opportunity to develop my skills and my discipline and also it is a good enrichment for universities to look at.

– Umar Khan

The assault course provided the young people with the chance to challenge themselves, scaling walls and plunging into the water obstacles.

When I arrived here, I thought this is intense, how will I manage all these obstacles with the stamina I possess. But now that I have done it, it was great fun.

– Farhan Mohammed

The group was taught observation skills and the basics of camouflage and concealment. They also set up a harbour area and learnt how to build a basher - a basic overnight shelter.

What we are trying to achieve is that the group goes away from here more informed about the Army and the Army also being more informed about their communities. It is a two-way process. We want to be more inclusive and we need to reach out into these communities and find out as much about them, as they do about us.

They have had a fantastic time this weekend and have seized the opportunity to do things that they have never had the opportunity to do before. It is quite unusual for these communities to come inside the wire and do some activities and assault courses and they have had a great time.

– Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hunter

It is planned to roll out the project nationally.

We have been working with the British Army now for six or seven months trying to develop a programme where we can better the life chances and opportunities for the young BME people from the Huddersfield area

So this is the start of a 12 month programme the aim of which is that the young people come out, have a good time, enjoy what they see and enjoy their time with the British Army.

It is very much about life experience and character building. If some young people want to join the British Army, that is absolutely their choice and is not a problem.

The point is these are British young people and what we want them to do is have an understanding and engage better with the British Army.

Our young people have really got on exceptionally well with the Army staff because the Army staff are not just a uniform – there is a human being in the uniform and that is what has come out this weekend.

– Rashad Bokhari, HPCA