1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the British Army’s Phase 2 Specialist and Phase 3 Career training with links to pages on each of the British Army’s Directorates and Corps.

2.0     Structure of the British Army

The British Army is made up of a number of Regiments and Corps which are traditionally categorised into one of three groupings:

  1. Combat Arms: are those forces that use fire and manoeuvre to engage with the enemy with direct fire systems:
    1. Royal Armoured Corps (RAC);
    2. Household Cavalry (HC); and
    3. The Infantry (e.g. Parachute Regiment).
  2. Combat Support Forces: are those forces providing fire support and operational assistance to the Combat Arms:
    1. Royal Regiment of Artillery (RA);
    2. Royal Corps of Engineers (RE);
    3. Royal Corps of Signals (RCS); and
    4. Army Air Corps (AAC);
  3. Combat Service Support Forces: are generally categorised into logistics support, personnel service support and health services support:
    1. Royal Logistics Corps (RLC);
    2. Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME);
    3. Army Medical Services (AMS);
    4. Adjutants General’s Corps (AGC), including the Royal Military Police (RMP);
    5. The Intelligence Corps (IC); and
    6. British Army Musicians (Corps of Army Music and Regimental Bands);
    7. Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC);
    8. Small Arms School Corps (SASC).

However, during 2012 the British Army restructured, cutting swathes of senior officer posts, by combining the Army’s eight main corps into four capability directorates:

  • Combat Capability Directorate: consisting of the RAC, Household Cavalry & Infantry (encompassing Mounted Close Combat and Dismounted Close Combat).
  • Combat Support Capability Directorate: consisting of the Royal Artillery & Royal Engineers.
  • Combat Information Capability Directorate: consisting of the Royal Corps of Signals and the Intelligence Corps.
  • Combat Service Support Capability Directorate: consisting of the Royal Logistics Corps and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

The British Army is made up of both Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks (known as Soldiers).

3.0     The 3 Phases of UK Military Training

UK military training is conducted at a number of training centres around the country (colloquially known as defence training establishments (DTE)). DTEs typically have a number of centres or schools co-located and utilise either a Joint Force (Tri-Service) or Federated model. The centre which delivers an individual’s training is dependent on a number of factors, which include:

  • Age;
  • Officer or Other Rank;
  • Service Branch;
  • Job/role; and
  • Stage of career (personnel require certain mandatory trade and educational qualifications for rank advancement).

Although the location, composition and duration of initial training programmes is Service Branch and role specific, there are three (soon to be four) distinct phases that each individual will pass through, with each phase having a specific purpose as highlighted below.

  • Phase 0: Specialist training prior to entry into the services, part of the Army 2020 reforms (British Army, 2013).
  • Phase 1: Initial training (converts civilian recruits into partly trained military personnel). Training programmes follow a common military syllabus (CMS) to ensure consistency across the board. This phase is ubiquitously known as ‘boot camp’.
  • Phase 2: Specialist training (also known as special-to-arms and professional training which provides military personnel with the skills, knowledge and qualifications required for their specific job/role).
    • Phase 2a: generic specialist training (e.g. combat engineer training)
    • Phase 2b: artisan training (e.g. electrician training)
  • Phase 3: Career training (also known as trained soldier training and in-service training) is a mixture of career, promotion and specialist trade and non-trade courses.

This article focuses upon Phases 2 and 3 of UK military training.

For ease of reading the article has been sub-divided into the structure as outlined below, just click on the branch of the British Army you are interested in.

Combat Arms:

Combat Support Forces:

Combat Service Support Forces:

4.0     Training and Education for Soldiers

At some stage during their careers, most Officers and Soldiers will conduct some form of continual professional development (CPD). This phase of their training is known as Phase 3. Phase 3 training can be split into 3 main categories:

  1. Trade Training: after an initial four years, many soldiers decide to continue their career by extending their period of engagement. As a consequence, most have the opportunity to further their trade skills and gain additional military and, where appropriate, civilian qualifications.
  2. Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) Training: on promotion soldiers will take their respective Junior Command Course (Section Commander), Senior Command Course (Platoon/Troop Sergeant) and Warrant Officer Course. These courses provides soldiers with the necessary command and supervisory training they will need to operate effectively in their unit.
  3. Professional Training: professional training can be delivered by Defence Training Establishments with accreditation by academic institutions, or accredited and delivered by an academic institution. Professional training is a mixture of further and higher education, and leads to civilian qualifications.

5.0     Training and Education for Officers

  1. Further Command Training: during their commission, high-quality officers may be selected to attend the Battle Captains’ Course and/or Squadron Commanders’ Course where they will get the necessary command and supervisory training required to operate effectively in their unit.
  2. Further Technical Training: individuals may apply to attend on a number of post-graduate (higher education and academic) courses which lead to post-graduate qualifications. This may also lead to Chartered status with a professional association for certain qualifications/courses.
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