Scotland

How An Army Recruit Becomes A Soldier

We joined civilians during their intense two-week Phase One training course, which looks to build basic soldiering skills among recruits.

British Army reserve recruits have been put through their paces as they take on Phase One training in Scotland.

The intense course looks to build basic soldiering skills quickly before recruits pass out and join their units as reservists.

Recruit Jessia Valentine, 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital, told Forces News that after starting her Alpha course in November, she has undertaken online training with her unit.

"We've got battle casualty drills and things like that coming up and obviously a lot of [physical training] ready for our test at the end of the week," she said.

"I just like the structure and I just like that you get to do a bit of adventure and fit it into your normal life as well."

Lasting two weeks, the training package aims to build on the work recruits did in the Alpha course, with combat skills, field drills and physical fitness all tested.

What does Phase 1 reservist training involve?

Alpha and Bravo both form Phase One 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.

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

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.

The two-week training course tests combat skills, field drills and physical fitness.

Staff Sergeant Gary McRobbie, Army Training Unit Scotland, told Forces News all the recruits we spoke to in Scotland are "on a different journey" to one another.

He added some recruits have "already got really high-powered [civilian] jobs" and over the course of the training, you see a "change of who they are and who they become".

"We'll see some that… arrive confident that'll be presented with tasks that they find difficult and it may push them back a bit," SSgt McRobbie continued.

"Some of the troops that arrive [have] no confidence at all and you can see them gradually building… that confidence as they arrive, as they develop.

"It's just good to actually sit and see each individual develop and become the person they're going to be at the end of it," he added.

The training can be tough as it is, but for the latest group of recruits COVID-19 restrictions have made the training even more challenging.

Recruit Morgan McKay, 153 Recovery Company Reme Scotland, said the recruits are "working with it" as there is nothing else they can do.

For most of the recruits, it is their first taste of Army life, with training day in, day out.

The training represents the final steps for the recruits before completing a journey that has taken them from civilian to soldier.