Reserve Training in the Antipodes

I am interested to find out more about how the TA is trained.

A number of years ago, the powers that be (regular) in Australia decided that  Reservist need to have the same competencies as a Regular soldier.

Up till that point reserve courses were normally of 2 weeks duration. For example the recruit course for a reservist was 2 weeks and was conducted regionally whereas a regular would attend an 8 week recruit course at a central location (the Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka).

A Reservist who wanted to become a medical assistant in an infantry battalion needed to attaned 2 x 2 week courses to gain their limited qualification whereas a full timer to gain a full qualification needed to attend a 26 week course.

Up to that stage it was agreed that there would be different standards between regulars and reservists and that if Reservists were to be deployed they would build up their standard in pre-deployment training (when an infantry company deployed to East Timor with one of the regular battalions they spent 6 months in predeployment training.) The best way to describe Resreve training was 'just in time training' whereas Regulatr training was 'just in case training'.

The current system requires a reserve recruit to do a 6 week recruit course (the regular course was reduced to this length), a reserve infantryman now needs to do 8 weeks of training (post recruit course) to be qualified and a med assist now needs to do the whole 26 week fulltime course to be qualified to sit under a tree at a range practice.

The consequence of this is that reserve numbers are dropping rapidly.

How does the TA train?

there are others out there who know more than me, and will probably correct a lot of what I'm going to say, but for what it's worth...

My recruit training consisted of 4 weekends, and 1 fortnight. (There were also 2 hour training sessions, one evening a week.)

The fortnight training is known as CMS - Common Military Skills. The format, and standards, are pretty common across the board (Recruits from 6 different corps were represented when I did my CMS), although I suspect teeth arms may have a harder time physically.

After the fortnight's training, the next stage is another training course, this time dealing with the specific skills your unit specalises in. Again, this would usually be a fortnight preceeded by some weekends, but some courses involve 2 fortnight periods, plus usual weekends.

There's no pretence that standards are the same as in the regulars. Due to time constraints, certain subjects will not be covered in training courses, and those that are can't be practiced to the same extent. However, the basic idea is that standards are high enough for reservists do do a reasonable job.

Do Aussie reservists do the 6 week training in 1 block?  Must be great for standards, but would need great dedication, especially if you had a family.

How long did the reservists deploy to East Timor for? Did it justify the 6 months' training? What was retention like in that unit afterwards? Were they all volunteers, or were some mobilised?
Having completed infantry recruit training only last year. This is my experience of it:

Recruit training has now been extended to 5 weekends (sometimes this material is covered in a 10 day or 2wk course) run by your own unit. Weekends can be repeated if remedial training is required. Over which time tuesday evening training is also attended.

Once the instructors feel the recruit is ready, a two week CIC (combat infantryman course) is attended. This is now closed to females. Although the material is covered recruits are expected to have a good understanding of all the basics already and the emphasis is more on testing the recruits’ skills rather than teaching them. There are two types of passes a full pass, self-explanatory and a delayed pass, which is given if the recruit has failed one element (eg: map reading, CFT, first aid, etc) providing field craft has been passed. The recruit can then retake the relevant test back at his unit after remedial training. A fail is always given if field craft has been failed.

That is all there is to the Infantry basic training. The corporals who instructed on the CIC I attended, seemed imprested by the general standards (there are always one or two!) considering TA is only a hobby and we have other civilian work commitments.
TA Sapper training is quite straight forward.

There are 5 training weekends run by the unit.  

The first is a look at life where the new recruits are shown what the TA is about, more specifically what the Sappers are about and they get to look at and play with some of the kit (a lot of them seem intrested in the big tonka toys but I was far more intrested in the Dems stand  8) )

the next four weekends common the common military skills which include PT, 1st aid, NBC, map reading, fieldcraft, drill and a small amount of weapons handling. In addition to the four weekends the recruits also attend the weekly training night and receive more PT and classroom stuff.

After they have passed the initial phase they then go to Gib Barracks and complete a 2 week recruit training course which is run by the Regular Army. The first week of this course is testing of the stuff they covered at their units and a lot of weapons handling, and a 2 day exercise to check their infantry skills are ok.  The second week is dedicated to Military Engineering and specifically to Basic Field Engineering this is a three day classroom/practical teaching and testing session followed by a three day exercise where these skills are put to the test, usually by building an aerial ropeway accross a gap. The exercise also consists of a troop attack on an enemy position and culminates with a CFT back into the bks (carrying a bit more weight than you usually have on a CFT!)

New recruits must pass this course in order to go on to a task site with their unit as they are not insured if they have not passed the BFE phase. A fail of any of the written tests can be retaken back at the unit but if they fail a practical section they will have to return and do the module they failed again, in reality this usually means repeating the second week as this is the stuff that is completely new to them when they go down.

Of course it doesn't finish there.  Once they have returned they still have loads of subjects they have to cover before they are considered fit for role.  The madatory subjects are Dems, Mine warfare, Equipment Bridging and Water Supply. They must have passed all these subjects to B2 standard to be considered FFR and they are also requirements for promotion, in addition to a Cadre and BIT course.  In all it takes about 2 years to become fully trained and that is only if you dont miss any of the modules that are run.  

Recruit training in isolation usually takes about 6 months from start to finish.
Humph - slightly off thread this - but I have my reasons - how many MTDs a year does an average guy in your unit to, to remain FFR ?   And anyone else out there who has a view on that, I'd be interested - PM me if you feel happier.

Mr Happy

Back on thread....

1988 my Inf Bn TA Unit did 5 x weekends + 1 x 2 week camp.  This was on top of the initial 'assesment weekend'.  The two week course was held at a central depot with lots of other inf unit types.

2001 (pre foot and mouth) after a 'real assesment weekend' my teeth arm unit does 6 weekends and 1 x 9 day camp for CMS and 6 weekends and 1 x 9 day camp for specialist skills.  Both a repeatable for low acheivers / attenders.  All the above is run in-house.

Lord knows what we do now but I guess we're back to 2001 practices.
HQ Land decreed last year that TA Inf were required to attend a an initial TA Foundation Scheme followed by a 2 week Phase 1 Training course and then a 2 week Combat Infantrymans Course Phase 2 Training at ATR Catterick. This was changed (following many complaint about the potential 2 year timescale to get a fully trained soldier) to a TAFS of 1 or 2 weekends covering basic drill, pay statements, health & safety, Equal Ops etc. This is then followed by up to 8 weekends (approx every 3 weeks) actual military type training of principally NBC, weapon handling and lots more drill with a bit of fieldcraft and First Aid. In the event that they miss a weekend they may end up back sqadded for up to 2 months. Finally, after completing this, a recruit is required to attend CIC for 2 weeks effectively as confirmation of the prior training. At this stage they will have completed the requiremenst for bounty having passed APWT, Fitness NBC etc. They will also become eligible for mobilisation. Overall timescale takes at least 6 months from walking in the door to CIC completeon (IF (BIG ONE) they can get on a CIC).

Hope this assists.
We've not had any problems getting people off for their two week course, seeing as there are 5 ATRs to choose from.

Is your experience different?

girl_in_green said:
considering TA is only a hobby

You may be the worlds most switched on soldier but with that attitude, please hand your kit in when you next attend a drill night. You are a waste of time and a flicking disgrace. Whatever capbadge you wear, you besmirch it.

The probelem is not with the ATR's (we dont use them for Phase 1). The problem we have had is big gaps between CIC courses so that when there is a course, it is overloaded with bids well in advance and as a Bn we are only allocated a limited number of slots, all of which are easily filled. I have guys who may have completed their Phase 1 but could wait over 6 months to get on a CIC. This again is not helped by Catterick suddenly throwing in a course at short notice with the 'you asked for it and when it is not filled we know you don't really want it'.

Don't want to start off yet another arab v stab argument but TA soldiers cannot commit to go away for 2 weeks at short notice as leave frequently has to booked with their employer at least 1 month in advance!
Thread resurrection but I suppose the idea to of the shorter training is firstly more people CS do it and secondly that you’ll have exposure to the basics..... you won’t have anywhere near the same amount of practice.

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