Small group training for TF

Lads,

I'm currently involved in developing a new approach to squeezing more training for TF pers from a skinny training budget.
In the words of an elderly farmer from the Hurunui: 'The maximum amount of milk, with a bare minimum amount of moo'.

Problem:
All pers must meet a minimum training standard on a given number of tasks.
Some pers are notably teats at this.
Experienced baggies get jaded with training 'going back to basics' every year for the benefit of PTE Nutsack.
The budget doesn't stretch to increasing the number of collective training nights/days.

Solution:
Take a small number of pers needing extra trg. (5-10) plus an NCO or two with time and a need for extra cash.
Conduct a days worth of training in the local AO on key soldier skills (nav, RATEL, wpns etc.) every month/3 wks.
Do regular reports/assessments to keep HQ happy.

Benefits:
Improves the average competence of the newer/less experienced, without having to involve 10-year baggies in suck-eggs training that makes them want to chomp a 9 milly.
Less training time as a whole Plt. needs to be devoted to the less experienced pers & more time for gucci trg.

This is obviously in an NZ setting, but have any TA pers from Her Majesty's Isles had experience in this? tips for young players/potential pitfalls etc.

Context is a Territorial Infantry Platoon of approx 35 troopies (~10 experienced, ~25 0-2 years experience) plus a loose handful of officers.

Cheers
 
Lads,

I'm currently involved in developing a new approach to squeezing more training for TF pers from a skinny training budget.
In the words of an elderly farmer from the Hurunui: 'The maximum amount of milk, with a bare minimum amount of moo'.

Problem:
All pers must meet a minimum training standard on a given number of tasks.
Some pers are notably teats at this.
Experienced baggies get jaded with training 'going back to basics' every year for the benefit of PTE Nutsack.
The budget doesn't stretch to increasing the number of collective training nights/days.

Solution:
Take a small number of pers needing extra trg. (5-10) plus an NCO or two with time and a need for extra cash.
Conduct a days worth of training in the local AO on key soldier skills (nav, RATEL, wpns etc.) every month/3 wks.
Do regular reports/assessments to keep HQ happy.

Benefits:
Improves the average competence of the newer/less experienced, without having to involve 10-year baggies in suck-eggs training that makes them want to chomp a 9 milly.
Less training time as a whole Plt. needs to be devoted to the less experienced pers & more time for gucci trg.

This is obviously in an NZ setting, but have any TA pers from Her Majesty's Isles had experience in this? tips for young players/potential pitfalls etc.

Context is a Territorial Infantry Platoon of approx 35 troopies (~10 experienced, ~25 0-2 years experience) plus a loose handful of officers.

Cheers
If someone is still a baggie after 10 years in maybe they also need the extra training.
Just a thought.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
If someone is still a baggie after 10 years in maybe they also need the extra training.
Just a thought.
The problem with TF troops is that you cant promote someone and expect them to go to another unit or location. Fine when we had a massive reserve and loads of Centres close by but nowadays having 10 year plus senior soldiers should be seen as a boon not a fail. Besides should we really need to mobilise them they would all be capable of stepping up a rank or two if you have trained them properly!
 
If someone is still a baggie after 10 years in maybe they also need the extra training.
Just a thought.
They do exist- Often are just pers who turn up to training regularly, have been on a few deployments to the south Pacific but have kids/missus/work that prevents doing promotion courses.

Or are in a unit so small that there's not enough room for another lance jack. NZ Army has mana, not money.
 
The problem with TF troops is that you cant promote someone and expect them to go to another unit or location. Fine when we had a massive reserve and loads of Centres close by but nowadays having 10 year plus senior soldiers should be seen as a boon not a fail. Besides should we really need to mobilise them they would all be capable of stepping up a rank or two if you have trained them properly!
Oddly enough, neglecting an entire branch of the Army for nigh on 25 years causes some issues when its realised that the whole RF is unable to fulfil a deployment longer than 3 rotations without Terries...
 
Best bang for buck?

A day's training gives you 8 hours. A weekend's training gives you 40 hours and provides a change in environment without going anywhere. Intersperse intensive 40 hour weekends with more relaxed 16 hour weekends. The critical thing is that you fill all of the training time which means that the training providers need to work to a plan rather than make it up on the fly. Sleeping can be part of the training so long as it's part of the plan.
 
This is obviously in an NZ setting, but have any TA pers from Her Majesty's Isles had experience in this? tips for young players/potential pitfalls etc.

Context is a Territorial Infantry Platoon of approx 35 troopies (~10 experienced, ~25 0-2 years experience) plus a loose handful of officers.
It was nearly thirty years ago, but... my first job in the TA was as a platoon commander at a platoon location, almost an hour's drive from Company HQ. There was supposed to be someone there mentoring me, but he'd lost his mojo and rarely attended. We were really lucky; we had a 0.22 range, a public football pitch along the road (the "Balbardie Park of Peace", no less) and nearby countryside (granted, at the top of Puir Wives' Brae). Tuesday evenings normally finished with a half-hour game of five-a-side in the hall, the bar opened, and everyone slowly faded after a drink or two.

What worked was running multiple training programmes. We had one JNCO (who enjoyed working with them) running a rolling cycle of 6? 8? basic lessons for recruits that got them started, alongside their weekend recruit training, up until the point where they could sit in on the "trained soldier" programme, which covered everyone who'd done less than three or four years. We also ran a junior NCO / senior soldier training programme, covering stuff that was more advanced, and intended to stop unused JNCOs getting bored.

My dream was that everyone could turn up to a training evening on a Tuesday, and feel that they'd earned their pay by either learning something new (recruits up to JNCO), or teaching others (JNCO / SNCO / Me). I didn't like the idea of those NCOs who weren't teaching, sitting around feeling a bit surplus to requirements.

Training Nights were (unsurprisingly) based around what was coming up at the next few Training Weekends; which were (unsurprisingly) based around what the CO had set as the Battalion Training Objectives for the year / quarter. Any gaps were made up with basic skills development, done in a way that tried to avoid boredom and repetition.

Yes, I had the requisite number of "2Lt Bright Ideas", like... "let's do something a bit more interesting with the 0.22 range, we'll finish off the 'ambush' lessons with a firing phase". Cue some hand-drawn targets, and night occupation of the firing points (by pairs). Or "could we clear some land up on the hills behind the TAC, get some belted blank, tab up, and run individual CQB lanes with the GPMG?" (that one went down well). Granted, trying to teach map-reading on a nearby football pitch by trying to get people to march on a bearing / do resection off the corner flags didn't work as well as I hoped... I'd dropped 2p coins on the pitch, made a map out of graph paper, not a raging success :( - and I nearly got into trouble when I used half the Company's annual allocation of sub-calibre rounds for the 84mm Carl Gustav, in a single night's firing (saved by the fact that no other sod ever thought to use it). *

And yes, it was knackering - I could guarantee that I'd be instructing at least one lesson a week, and the preparation burden was high. On the other hand, it was successful; a normal Tuesday turnout was 25 or so from an official strength of nearly 40 (we had some people who were on the Coy HQ ORBAT). I'll be honest - my training programmes were a bit crap for the first three months, decidedly ho-hum for the next three, and picked up after that as I got the hang of it. Burnout wasn't much of a risk, because training evenings didn't demand instructional letters and plans and stuff; just the right kit, an instructor, and willing victims soldiers. Oh, and an insanely tolerant Regular PSI and team of NCOs, who were used to my dafter suggestions, and willing to go along with them. Admit it, it's hard to be cynical in the face of relentless enthusiasm :eek:

In these enlightened times (I had the joy of Crown Immunity, and a CO who authorised me until my place on a range course came through), any spare officers and SNCOs at your location are vital for providing the "suitably qualified and experienced personnel" that you need, in order to conduct training safely... and to wind the neck in, of any overenthusiastic subaltern. Mark my words, if you don't stamp on them, they carry on having dodgy ideas about how training should actually be enjoyable...

* Why yes, people did follow me purely out of curiosity, why do you ask...
 
Last edited:
It was nearly thirty years ago, but... my first job in the TA was as a platoon commander at a platoon location. There was supposed to be someone there mentoring me, but he'd lost his mojo and rarely attended.

What worked was running multiple training programmes. We had one JNCO (who enjoyed working with them) running a rolling cycle of 6? 8? basic lessons for recruits that got them started, alongside their weekend recruit training, up until the point where they could sit in on the "trained soldier" programme, which covered everyone who'd done less than three or four years. We also ran a junior NCO / senior soldier training programme, covering stuff that was more advanced, and intended to stop unused JNCOs getting bored.

My dream was that everyone could turn up to a training evening on a Tuesday, and feel that they'd earned their pay by either learning something new (recruits up to JNCO), or teaching others (JNCO / SNCO / Me). I didn't like the idea of those NCOs who weren't teaching, sitting around feeling a bit surplus to requirements.

Yes, I had the requisite number of "2Lt Bright Ideas", like... "let's do something a bit more interesting with the 0.22 range, we'll finish off the 'ambush' lessons with a firing phase". Cue some hand-drawn targets, and night occupation of the firing points (by pairs). Or "could we clear some land up on the hills behind the TAC, get some belted blank, tab up, and run individual CQB lanes with the GPMG?" (that one went down well). Granted, trying to teach map-reading on a nearby football pitch by trying to get people to march on a bearing / do resection off the corner flags didn't work as well as I hoped... I'd dropped 2p coins on the pitch, made a map out of graph paper, not a raging success :( - and I nearly got into trouble when I used half the Company's annual allocation of sub-calibre rounds for the 84mm Carl Gustav, in a single night's firing (saved by the fact that no other sod ever thought to use it). *

And yes, it was knackering - I could guarantee that I'd be instructing at least one lesson a week, and the preparation burden was high. On the other hand, it was successful; a normal Tuesday turnout was 25 or so from an official strength of nearly 40 (we had some people who were on the Coy HQ ORBAT). I'll be honest - my training programmes were a bit crap for the first three months, decidedly ho-hum for the next three, and picked up after that as I got the hang of it.

In these enlightened times (I had the joy of Crown Immunity, and a CO who authorised me until my place on a range course came through), any spare officers and SNCOs at your location are vital for providing the "suitably qualified and experienced personnel" that you need, in order to conduct training safely... and to wind the neck in, of any overenthusiastic subaltern. Mark my words, if you don't stamp on them, they carry on having dodgy ideas about how training should actually be enjoyable...

* Why yes, people did follow me purely out of curiosity, why do you ask...
If it’s engaging, not too repetitive and interesting (ie not wasting their time) they will come.

As you say though there is a chance of burn out
 
It was nearly thirty years ago, but... my first job in the TA was as a platoon commander at a platoon location, almost an hour's drive from Company HQ. There was supposed to be someone there mentoring me, but he'd lost his mojo and rarely attended. We were really lucky; we had a 0.22 range, a public football pitch along the road (the "Balbardie Park of Peace", no less) and nearby countryside (granted, at the top of Puir Wives' Brae). Tuesday evenings normally finished with a half-hour game of five-a-side in the hall, the bar opened, and everyone slowly faded after a drink or two.

What worked was running multiple training programmes. We had one JNCO (who enjoyed working with them) running a rolling cycle of 6? 8? basic lessons for recruits that got them started, alongside their weekend recruit training, up until the point where they could sit in on the "trained soldier" programme, which covered everyone who'd done less than three or four years. We also ran a junior NCO / senior soldier training programme, covering stuff that was more advanced, and intended to stop unused JNCOs getting bored.

My dream was that everyone could turn up to a training evening on a Tuesday, and feel that they'd earned their pay by either learning something new (recruits up to JNCO), or teaching others (JNCO / SNCO / Me). I didn't like the idea of those NCOs who weren't teaching, sitting around feeling a bit surplus to requirements.

Training Nights were (unsurprisingly) based around what was coming up at the next few Training Weekends; which were (unsurprisingly) based around what the CO had set as the Battalion Training Objectives for the year / quarter. Any gaps were made up with basic skills development, done in a way that tried to avoid boredom and repetition.

Yes, I had the requisite number of "2Lt Bright Ideas", like... "let's do something a bit more interesting with the 0.22 range, we'll finish off the 'ambush' lessons with a firing phase". Cue some hand-drawn targets, and night occupation of the firing points (by pairs). Or "could we clear some land up on the hills behind the TAC, get some belted blank, tab up, and run individual CQB lanes with the GPMG?" (that one went down well). Granted, trying to teach map-reading on a nearby football pitch by trying to get people to march on a bearing / do resection off the corner flags didn't work as well as I hoped... I'd dropped 2p coins on the pitch, made a map out of graph paper, not a raging success :( - and I nearly got into trouble when I used half the Company's annual allocation of sub-calibre rounds for the 84mm Carl Gustav, in a single night's firing (saved by the fact that no other sod ever thought to use it). *

And yes, it was knackering - I could guarantee that I'd be instructing at least one lesson a week, and the preparation burden was high. On the other hand, it was successful; a normal Tuesday turnout was 25 or so from an official strength of nearly 40 (we had some people who were on the Coy HQ ORBAT). I'll be honest - my training programmes were a bit crap for the first three months, decidedly ho-hum for the next three, and picked up after that as I got the hang of it. Burnout wasn't much of a risk, because training evenings didn't demand instructional letters and plans and stuff; just the right kit, an instructor, and willing victims soldiers. Oh, and an insanely tolerant Regular PSI and team of NCOs, who were used to my dafter suggestions, and willing to go along with them. Admit it, it's hard to be cynical in the face of relentless enthusiasm :eek:

In these enlightened times (I had the joy of Crown Immunity, and a CO who authorised me until my place on a range course came through), any spare officers and SNCOs at your location are vital for providing the "suitably qualified and experienced personnel" that you need, in order to conduct training safely... and to wind the neck in, of any overenthusiastic subaltern. Mark my words, if you don't stamp on them, they carry on having dodgy ideas about how training should actually be enjoyable...

* Why yes, people did follow me purely out of curiosity, why do you ask...
Very interesting and excellent comment, thanks!
Also interesting that ny unit's approach has been damn near identical to yours. With obvious role and resources exceptions.

Great to know we're following proven techniques as this has been pretty much in the dark so far.
 
If it’s engaging, not too repetitive and interesting (ie not wasting their time) they will come.

As you say though there is a chance of burn out
Our major issues with burnout arise from our demographic: students and cops.

Students leave for exams and at the end of their degrees. Cops tend to get overwhelmed with work and forced out (particularly if there's a missus/kids on the scene).

At present our major issue is getting enough bums on seats to justify promoting senior baggies or putting them in comd roles. A major risk is having sections of 5x LCPLS and 2 baggies: motivated pers start to get jaded from their promotion becoming slower than a snail sex show.
 
I can't speak for your unit but in the units I was in, promotion wasn't a major factor in retention. You found a niche you were happy with and stayed there. Sometimes that meant that you were under-ranked for your job, sometimes you were rapidly promoted but went no further.

Unlike the regular army where promotion has a major impact on your standard of living, the territorial soldiers (at least those that I've come across) see promotion as a thank-you for the effort put in and will be equally happy with a verbal well-done and being treated as a grown-up.
 
Our major issues with burnout arise from our demographic: students and cops.

Students leave for exams and at the end of their degrees. Cops tend to get overwhelmed with work and forced out (particularly if there's a missus/kids on the scene).
You know what that means... broadening the demographic or increase retention.

Depending on your regulations in that situation I would devote some resources to trying to get people who’s lives have moved on back. Even if they can only attend 25% of the time

At present our major issue is getting enough bums on seats to justify promoting senior baggies or putting them in comd roles. A major risk is having sections of 5x LCPLS and 2 baggies: motivated pers start to get jaded from their promotion becoming slower than a snail sex show.
I can't speak for your unit but in the units I was in, promotion wasn't a major factor in retention. You found a niche you were happy with and stayed there. Sometimes that meant that you were under-ranked for your job, sometimes you were rapidly promoted but went no further.

Unlike the regular army where promotion has a major impact on your standard of living, the territorial soldiers (at least those that I've come across) see promotion as a thank-you for the effort put in and will be equally happy with a verbal well-done and being treated as a grown-up.
If you end up with a section of NCOs and few troops that’s a good thing, at least then you can train the troops you have. You can also spend some time on training the NCOs.

With regard to promotion, a major disincentive is also lack of promotion. You’ve done the course, you are possibly doing the job..... but not getting the rank recognition and pay (such as it is)
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I found the TA to have plenty of senior ranks playing at DS and a handful of junior ranks actually doing the jobs that should have been done by those playing at DS!
That was a long time ago! Plenty of senior soldiers commanding sections and very clever techy types playing at soldiers but happy to run the company signals detachment and generally better qualified and experienced than those they worked for in the TA!
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top