Could This Be The Future Of Army Reservist Training?

Seventeen recruits have been out on exercise at Beckingham Training Camp trialling a new pilot for reservist training.

A group of Army reserve recruits have become the first to trial a new training pilot which could be rolled out for all reservists undergoing basic training. 

The programme was put together after the coronavirus pandemic forced reserves to receive much of their training online.

It combines virtual and field-based exercises and trains recruits from the basics up, including more realistic scenarios for reserves to react to.

This new training course could replace the current Alpha and Bravo packages and, if successful, will be introduced across reserve units from April.

Alpha and Bravo are both part of Phase 1 training - the first stage, Alpha, is "designed to lay the foundations of military character for recruits", according to the British Army, and takes place during four training weekends over eight weeks.

Recruits can also complete it over seven days, if their personal circumstances allow it.

The next part of Phase 1 training, Bravo, usually takes place for recruits within eight weeks of Alpha being finished.

Bravo is a 15.5-day course and features further training on topics covered during Alpha, plus new subjects, as well as deployments on two field training exercises.

Second Lieutenant Simon Castle, Platoon Commander of Army Training Regiment Grantham, outlined how the recruits are benefiting from the new training at Beckingham Training Camp in Lincolnshire.

The reservists have been training for the field at Beckingham Training Camp.

He said: "A lot of what they’ve done has been done as distance learning beforehand and then this is a chance to go over that and find out anything they might not have understood from the distance learning package and apply it in an exercise environment or go through the assessments they need to do. 

"It’s a chance for us to see what works and what doesn’t."

The two-week training course is taught by both regular and reserve instructors and allows for any mistakes to be addressed in the fieldwork.

As well as RTR training (Return, Take-over and Return appropriate fire), the reserves also learned the different ways they can move while firing a weapon.

Private Kieran Taylor, a reservist with the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, said: "[I] enjoyed it, good instructor, obviously picked us up on some bits and then polished them off and I think finished well.

"Obviously new to doing it, so I just think it's going to be gradual progression... always room for improvement!"

The Army is using the feedback on the ground and the response from the reservists to make any changes before the training is rolled out across the military.

Brigadier Mike Butterwick, the exercise's Commanding Officer, said: "It’s really important when you do something like this to actually see it on the ground, because you can’t sit in the office and just look at various PowerPoint slides, you’ve actually got to see this go in to practice.

"As with any pilot there are some things that will go really, really well and some things perhaps that don’t won’t work quite as well, so we need to adjust that and, hopefully, by the time we roll this out in April we should have a really fantastic course."