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Senior Army Officer returns to Cornwall College to inspire latest student cohort

Published: 31st March 2021

The most senior Warrant Officer in the British Army has inspired the latest generation of students at his former college, encouraging them to consider following in his footsteps.

Army Sergeant Major Gavin Paton, who is the most senior Warrant Officer in the Army, held a virtual talk for those studying Military and Protective Services at The Cornwall College Group’s Camborne, Stoke Climsland and Bicton campuses, during which he shared how he got to his current role and what has helped him get there.

The Army Sergeant Major himself studied public services at Cornwall College Camborne before he started his career in the Army.

During the 45-minute talk he spoke about what his current role entails, what the Army has been focusing on in the last 12 months and how the force is adapting to support mental wellbeing, before then taking a series of questions from enthusiastic students.

He said: “25 years ago I was sat in the seat you are today. I never came first in anything but I never gave up and that is key, ambition is really important, don’t think you can’t do something.

“I came into the Army with nothing and I owe everything to the Army – my degree, career, travel and money-can’t-buy experiences. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Among the students who were inspired to follow in the Army Sergeant Major’s footsteps was Isabelle Coles, a year one student of Military and Protective Services.

She said: “The brief we were given from the Army Sergeant Major was very interesting for me as it gave me an insiders perspective on how the army work to include and support everyone. As I am hoping to join the infantry he has inspired me as he has managed to work his way up from a 16yr old Private to the most senior warrant officer, showing me that anything you put your mind to is possible.”

Another student, Alfie Phillips, added: “I had the amazing opportunity to speak to the Army Sergeant Major first hand to ask him about his time in the army. Hearing him speak so passionately about his job and experiences really shone more light onto my view of the army and opened my eyes up to new possible career options.”

More than 42 per cent of the students on TCCG’s Military and Protective Services (MaPS) courses go directly into the services, with 45 per cent moving to the next level of course.

Jon Stone, Study Programme Manager for MaPS at Duchy College Stoke Climsland said: “It is great being able to have the Army Sergeant Major speak to our students.

“It clearly demonstrates the great career opportunities available and how the course and college can set you up and help you to realise your career aspirations and goals. Having the Army Sergeant Major say to the students ‘I was where you are’ helps them realise what they can achieve.

“I have known Gav, since he joined the Army and we worked together in 2LI/3 Rifles from 1997, he has always been a true professional and an inspiration. Hearing what he had to say to the students was genuinely inspiring and motivating.”


# The Career College # Military & Protective Services # Camborne # Bicton # Duchy College Stoke Climsland



16-19, Adult, Military & Protective Services Academy, Bicton College, Bicton College, Cornwall College, Cornwall College Camborne, Duchy College


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