Last Updated: 24 March, 2017

1.0     Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Endurance Training Leader (ETL) qualification provided by the British Army, Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Air Force (RAF), ‘The Services’.

As well as the ETL qualification, the RAF offered the Physical Training Leader (PTL) qualification which was for RAF personnel whilst the ETL was RAF Regiment personnel. The PTL and ETL were temporarily suspended by the RAF in October 2016 subject to a review.

2.0     Aim of the ETL Course

The aim of the ETL course is to train personnel in the administration, preparation and safety requirements needed to conduct running and marching endurance training to support military annual training test two (MATT2).

3.0     General Purpose of the ETL Course

The ETL course supports the Moral Component of Operational Capability (MCofOC), through physical development (PD), and aims to support units with no direct physical training (PT) staff and/or to increase support to unit PT staff.

To achieve this, The Services offer the ETL qualification as a short course with the aim of generating ETL qualified personnel to provide the chain of command with:

  • An additional capability to ensure military personnel remain robust and resilient, and functionally fit and healthy in which to undertake their role in any environment;
  • Another method of maintaining and improving a unit’s overall operational capability, particularly where no PT specialist is available; and
  • Further human resource tools, such as:
    • Making PT more accessible and attractive;
    • Increasing participation;
    • Leading to better morale;
    • Increasing retention; and
    • Improving operational readiness.

4.0     Eligibility to Attend the ETL Course

Personnel from the following organisations are eligible to attend the ETL course:

  • British Army: Officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of the Regular Army and Army Reserve.
  • Royal Navy (RN): Officers and ratings, Regular and Reserve.
  • Royal Marines (RM): Officers and NCOs, Regular and Reserve.
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA): Officers and ratings.
  • Royal Air Force (RAF): Officers and Airmen/Airwomen, and RAF Regiment personnel.
  • Select Foreign Military Personnel: through International Defence Training.

British Army personnel generally attend an ETL course delivered by a Regimental unit for Regular Army and an Army Training Centre (ATC) for Army Reserve. RN, RM and RFA personnel generally attend an ETL course provided by the RN at a shore-based unit.

All students are to be volunteers – who are to be physical fit and demonstrate an aptitude for PT – and must meet the pre-course requisites as detailed in the relevant Course Assessment Strategy (CAS). With this in mind, prior to the start of this course, students must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • British Army students:
    • Must be of minimum rank of substantive Lance Corporal.
      • Private soldiers are permitted to attend the ETL course but only if identified for PT training.
    • Students must have passed a personal fitness test (PFA) and annual fitness test (AFT) within the previous one month.
    • Must be medically fit to attend the course.
      • Students are to provide a completed FMed 566 annotated as “FIT TO ATTEND COURSE” and signed by a Medical Officer.
      • Failure to produce this document will result in the student being returned to unit (RTU).
    • Under the Army Reserve PTI Scheme students are required to undertake a number of pre-requisite courses including the ETL course.
  • RN, RM and RFA students:
    • Must be of minimum rate of Able Seaman One (AB1).
      • Lance Corporal for RM personnel.
    • Open to non-PT branch personnel.
    • Must be recommended by the Commanding Officer (CO).
    • Must be in possession of an ‘in-date’ RN Level 2 First Aid Qualification.
    • Must be in-date for the RN Fitness Test (RNFT).
      • Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) personnel are exempt the RNFT.
      • Royal Marines personnel are to be in-date for the RM PFT.
    • Must be medically fit to attend the course.
      • Students must be MEDCAT MFD P2.
  • UOTC Officer Cadets: University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) personnel are permitted to attend the ETL course but only if identified for PT training.

5.0     Objectives of the ETL Course

Upon successful completion of the course, all students will be able to:

  • Complete appropriate administration for conducting running and marching endurance training;
  • Carry out preparation for conducting running and marching endurance training; and
  • Identify and complete safety requirements for conducting running and marching endurance training.

6.0     Outline of the ETL Course

The ETL course is delivered by distributed training and is two-days in duration (generally two weekdays for Regular personnel and one weekend for Reserve personnel) and involves both theory and practical elements.

Students are trained to:

  • Deliver both voluntary and directed PT sessions, to a maximum ETL to student ratio of 1:15 (1:16 for the RAF).
  • Competently organise low-level (sub-maximal) running and marching endurance training not to exceed eight (8) miles (12.4 km) in distance in any one lesson, with a maximum ETL to student ratio of 1:15.
  • Assist current PTIs (Section 9.2) with formal PT sessions.
  • Safely conduct endurance training, adhering to a training programme and route plan prescribed and issued by a current PTI.
  • React competently to emergencies that may occur during, or as a result of, the training.
  • Contribute to the delivery of wider PD elements to further inculcate a culture of well-being, healthy lifestyle and improved fitness within the military environment.

The ETL course is generally delivered with a staff to student ratio of 1:10 (minimum of 5 and maximum of 15 students per staff member).

To successfully complete the course, students must pass a written exam and practical assessments.

The practical assessments may include the following elements:

  • Preparation:
    • Lesson plan.
    • Log book/diary.
    • Teaching ratios.
    • Equipment.
  • Health and Safety:
    • Environmental conditions.
    • Safe area/route.
    • Risk assessment.
  • Delivery:
    • Introduction.
    • Participants (e.g. limitations, injuries etc.).
    • Demonstrations, progressions and regressions.
    • Warm-up.
    • Lesson content:
      • PTLs: circuit training and endurance running.
      • ETLs: as above, plus endurance marching.
    • Training corrections and any appropriate advice.
    • Positioning and control.
    • Warm-up (aka cool-down).
    • End of session.
    • Check for injuries.
    • Comments and feedback by assessor (including positive areas and areas for improvement).

The PTL/ETL will be assessed as Competent or Not Competent.

6.1     RAF PTL and ETL Courses

Prior to suspension, the RAF PTL course was two-days in duration and the RAF ETL course was three-days in duration (an additional day for endurance training/marching).

RAF PTLs were qualified in the administration, preparation and health and safety requirements necessary to deliver sub-maximal bodyweight circuit training and sub-maximal endurance runs.

RAF Regiment ETLs were qualified in all PTL elements, as well as delivering endurance training and marching training.

7.0     ETL Role and Responsibilities

7.1     What Can ETLs Do?

An ‘in-date’ or current ETL (Section 9.2) is able to:

  • Deliver voluntary PT sessions;
  • Deliver directed PT sessions;
  • Conduct (sub-maximal) bodyweight basic circuit training (i.e. without equipment, other than mats);
  • Deliver various running activities up to a distance of eight (8) miles (12.4 km) in any one lesson;
  • Deliver joint mobility, warm-ups and stretching activities;
  • Deliver overload principle, warm-downs (aka cool-downs) and developmental stretches;
  • Complete a Specific Risk Assessment; and
  • Take appropriate emergency actions.

7.2     What Can ETLs Not Do?

ETLs are NOT responsible or qualified to deliver:

  • Any aspect of the RNFT, RMPFT, RAFFT, PFT or AFT.
    • The RAF is currently looking at qualifying PTLs to conduct the RAFFT as part of its review.
  • Remedial training.
  • Induction into unit gymnasiums.
  • Any training other than in support of MATT2:
    • Any training to soldiers at Phase 1 training establishments, except to Permanent Staff in support of MATT2;
    • Any training to soldiers at Phase 2 training establishments, except to Permanent Staff in support of MATT2; or
    • Any training to officer cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) during Term 1.
  • Can conduct training (in support of MATT2) in Terms 2 and 3 if accompanied by current PTI.
  • Training at night.
  • Training in conditions of poor visibility.
  • Training when climatic conditions (e.g. snow, slush, extreme heat etc.) constitute unnecessary risk.

7.3     Other Caveats

  • As ETLs are not given the in-depth training delivered to PTIs, their ability to conduct PT activities is limited and close supervision is required.
  • ETLs can only conduct training if there are insufficient current PTIs available to conduct the training.
  • ETLs are to seek advice regarding the appropriate level of medical cover for conducting training from senior PT staff (e.g. RAPTCI, WO PT or UFTO).
  • Keep a record of all training conducted and forward to the RAPCTI, WO PT or UFTO.
  • Running Endurance: The intensity should be 60% to 80% maximum heart rate (aka aerobic training).
  • Marching Endurance:
    • Maximum load for AFT is relevant to Arm/Service.
    • Pace not to exceed 4 mph (6.4 kph) or 15 minutes per mile.
  • All endurance training is to be conducted within the bounds of the following publications:
    • Queen’s Regulations (QRs) 5.022 – Safety Precautions for Marching Troops.
    • Extant Joint Service Publication (JSP): Climatic Injuries in the Armed Forces – Prevention and Treatment.
    • Military Annual Training Tests (MATTs).
    • Local Standing Orders.
    • Local Road Traffic Regulations.
    • Army General and Administrative Instructions (AGAIs) Volume 1 Chapter 7.

7.4     Risk Assessment

A current PTI must complete a Generic Risk Assessment prior to any activities by the ETL, from which the ETL must produce a Specific Risk Assessment.

The ETL must take into account the:

  • Physical ability of the group;
  • Arduousness of the training;
  • Route conditions; and
  • Environmental conditions.

8.0     Qualification

The successful completion of this course will qualify the student as an Endurance Training Leader conducting non-technical PT (i.e. moderate intensity squadded runs and loaded marches).

RAF personnel received either the PTL or ETL qualification, dependent on whether they completed the two- or three-day course.

This qualification is valid for three (3) years or until the individual’s first aid qualification expires (whichever is sooner).

This course is one of the pre-requisites for attendance by Army Reserve candidates on the Army Reserve Physical Training Instructor (Basic) Course.

9.0     Maintaining Competency and Currency

9.1     Competency

To maintain competency, individual’s must maintain a log book of all activities undertaken and at six (6) monthly intervals.

Log books must be endorsed by the Unit Fitness Training Officer (UFTO) for Army personnel, Unit Physical Development Officer (PDEV officer) (Regional Chief Petty Officer Physical Training (CPO PT) if not UPDO available) for RN, RM and RFA personnel or Station Physical Education Flights (Stn PEd Flts) for the RAF.

For RN, RM and RFA personnel, the ETL requalification course is required to maintain ETL competency and is by attendance at a regionally delivered half-day course. This includes a verification of the individual’s competency to deliver endurance training.

Successful completion of the ETL requalification course provides a further three (3) years of the ETL qualification or until the individual’s first aid qualification expires (whichever is sooner).

9.2     Currency

To be classified as current:

  • PTIs must be qualified, in-date and be able to provide evidence of PTI activity within the previous three (3) months.
  • ETLs must be qualified, in-date and be able to provide evidence of ETL activity within the previous six (6) months.