Attleborough student prepares for military career

An ambitious teenager who dreams of joining the army's top ranks says she is happy to tear apart the stereotypes attached to women in the military.

Former Attleborough High School student Molly Naldrett said many people are surprised when she explains her career ambitions never once believing the petite blonde would ever long for the days when she could serve her country in combats abroad.

But the 18-year-old will soon be following in the footsteps of Prince William, Prince Harry and Sir Winston Churchill as she prepares for the gruelling rigours of officer training at Sandhurst.

Although she has already sealed her place at the top academy, the down-to-earth youngster first intends to complete a three-year mechanical engineering degree at Aston University in Birmingham.

Next Thursday, she will be anxiously waiting for an email which will reveal her A-level exam results and determine whether she can proceed onto this next milestone in her career.

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For the last two years, Molly has studied and trained at the prestigious Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College, near Loughborough, where she sat A-levels in maths, physics and electronics. Her family proudly watched last month as she took part in her passing out parade.

The 'sporty' and 'competitive' student, of Bracken Drive, Attleborough, said: 'A lot of peole turn around when I say I'm going into the army. I don't mind - it helps get rid of the whole idea that women in the army are butch. Everyone seems to think that to go into the army you must be a tomboy but you don't have to be.'

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She added: 'I never really wanted to do anything else. I never want to do the same thing every day. An office job would be my worst nightmare. Working within the army is so versatile. It's the best thing I could do.'

It was a chance meeting with a careers adviser while at high school when she was just 14 which set her sights firmly on Welbeck.

What followed was an 18-month application process which involved three interviews and a weekend where she had to prove her might in a series of fitness and aptitude tests, essay writing, scenario planning and leadership tasks, which then had to be backed up by good GCSE exam results.

Molly said she cried when she picked up her results realising she had the needed grades. It also meant she had a future ticket to Sandhurst.

On her impending stay at the renowned academy, she said: 'My friends think I'm a bit mental. It will be hard, but I can not wait to go.'

Her aim is then to be posted to the Army Foundation College at Harrogate, which trains 16 and 17-year-olds, so she can pass on her skills to junior soldiers.

One day she hopes to work abroad repairing tanks and helicopters in the field or even join a bomb disposal squad.

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