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Alex Young

Former British Army soldier Alex Young is using his skills to inspire children and young people in Huddersfield and other parts of Yorkshire to succeed. The 27-year-old SkillForce instructor works with pupils at Ashbrow School in Huddersfield, amongst others, to help them develop grit and resilience.

Alex said: “I learnt so much from being in the Army. They really drum into you the importance of resilience, leadership, courage and discipline. To be able to pass on those values and the importance of respect for others is fantastic, and a real privilege.

“It’s very rewarding to see the change in the young people on the SkillForce programme. Some of the primary school pupils were shy or scared of speaking up in class or reticent to try new challenges, and we see them develop confidence and team working skills.”

Alex, who comes from a close-knit family, served a short time in the Army after joining in 2012. He decided to leave for personal reasons.

“I absolutely loved the job. I won the best student awards throughout training, and was a high performer, one of the top recruits in my troop. I trained with the Army Air Corps and was a ground crewman, working with the Army’s attack helicopters. I was also based in Northern Ireland for a year. I loved the skills that I learnt in the Army including map reading, discipline and firing a weapon, and I was good at them. I matured quickly and played rugby for the Army. But I underestimated the lifestyle and being away from my family was too much for me.”

He added: “It took a lot of courage to admit that however much I loved the job, I wouldn’t settle being posted away from home. My bosses were very supportive. I heard about SkillForce and it was the perfect fit for me – being able to use my military training and skills to help the next generation in my community and beyond. I have now been able to complete a teacher training qualification with the charity.”