A GULF war veteran, with 22 years military service, has been appointed lead training instructor at a pioneering Newcastle college.

Mark Mitchell, who also saw active duty in Germany and Northern Ireland, will oversee a team of ex-services staff at the Military Preparation College (MPC), St George’s Barracks, Sandyford Road.

The aim of the course is to equip 16 to 19-year-olds with the academic skills and physical fitness levels they need to embark on a career in the Armed Forces.

Military Preparation Colleges offer a range of free academic, functional and health and fitness courses along with training in physical fitness, public speaking and communication.

They are unique in that all their instructors are ex-British Armed Forces personnel, who use their military backgrounds to help learners set and reach the targets that will progress them to their chosen careers.

After leaving active service with the Grenadier Guards, Mark moved through the ranks completing instructional postings at ATR Pirbright as a Lance Sergeant Instructor, then ITC Catterick as a Platoon Sergeant.

His final posting before completing his 22 years’ service was at ITC Catterick, C/Sgt instructor for the All Arms Drill Wing.

Also joining the staff at the Newcastle College, which opened in 2018, is former Royal Engineers soldier, David Gibson, who completed three tours of duty in Bosnia and Kosovo.

David, from Wallsend, a former Advanced Diver and Regimental Physical Training Instructor has since worked as an assessor with Government funded apprenticeships.

And MPC Regional Operations Manager – and former Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Instructor – Laurence Corbett, who also oversees the colleges at South Shields, Stockton and Bishop Auckland, said Mark and David are “superb additions to our team.

“We have a superb track record in preparing our students for a career in the military and our success rate of those who gain entry in the forces is second to none,” he said.

“Our free training courses don’t just enhance their prospects of a career in the Armed Forces but they also stand our learners in very good stead for any number of careers – they are skills that will give them the very best start in their working lives.”

Since their launch in 1999 Military Preparation Colleges have prepared more than 3000 young people for a military career and helped at least a further 12,000 into other areas of employment and training.

Funded by the Department for Education, the 28 Military Preparation Colleges across England and Wales have been awarded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

To find out more about the Military Preparation Colleges, prospective learners and parents and guardians can visit www.mpct.co.uk or call 0330 111 3939.