An Iraq veteran and former Royal Marine commando has opened a new military training college in Burnley which he says will "bridge the gap" between school and the Armed Forces for young people in Burnley.
Evolve Military College has been opened by former Royal Marine Andy Emmott who spoke to the Burnley Express at an open day for the free college in Athletic Street, Brunshaw.
Andy, who had to leave the services after being badly wounded in Iraq in 2004, said courses at the college, all run by veterans, would not "sugarcoat" what life is really like in the Armed Forces.
Set up in Bury in 2016, Andy said he also hoped the courses would attract girls as well as people from a range of ethnic backgrounds.
"The course is open to all 16 to 24 year-olds and is intended to bridge the gap from school to joining the Armed Forces. It includes a lot of work experience including military skills, maths and English and a lot of fieldwork out on the hills and moors surrounding Burnley.
"Breaking down barriers in the community is a big thing for us so I would love to see people from all ethnic backgrounds. At our Bury centre we also have a 60/40 split between lads and girls.
"We don't sugarcoat what life is like. Televison adverts only show the good bits but we teach our students what they're preparing for and what can happen."
Six people have already started the rolling 26 week course in Burnley run by centre manager and another Royal Marine veteran James McDonald.
Visitors at the open day included representatives from Burnley Football Club, Burnley College, Lancashire County Council armed forces veterans and youth service teams, who were given a full tour of the facility, which is set to change the lives of many young people in the area.