Recruit Training Isn’t What It Used To Be!


To find out what today’s airman is trained in and what is expected of them, RTS have dispelled a few myths and shared the recruit journey below.

All prospective recruits have to pass the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) a 2.4km treadmill run, press ups and sit ups. The test standards approximate the RAF Fitness Test (RAFFT). At least six weeks prior to starting at RTS recruits attend a two day Pre Recruit Training Course (PRTC) to gain an insight into the RTS routine and spend three hours in the gym, they complete a maximal Multi Stage Fitness Test (MSFT) and one minute of press ups/sit ups. Two lifestyle briefs give recruits information on the benefits of training, nutrition and RTS expectations.

Lasting 9 weeks and comprising three modules the Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) turns civilians into airmen. The Physical Education (PEd) element of the BRTC consists of 27 x 90 minute lessons including runs, circuits, swimming, spinning, core, weights, rowing, boot walks, inter-flight sports and cross country competitions. A new Robustness and Resilience package includes Battle PT and Confidence (obstacle) Course lessons. Recruits must pass the RAFFT three times in Phase 1 Training; on Day 2, 40 and 54, achieving 100% on the final RAFFT. Any recruit who fails to achieve these standards is re-flighted until the required standard is achieved.

Module 1
The ‘militarisation’ stage spans 22 days. Following attestation recruits adapt to communal living, block nights and lots of ironing as well as kit preparation, E&D, PEd, Drill, GSK, leadership and followership. There is an enhanced Air Power programme, as Recruits receive training on the history and current role of the RAF, characteristics, attributes and roles of Air Power, current operations and future challenges. Recruits take part in Air Power discussions and deliver presentations to RTS staff, coming into line with Initial Officer Training (IOT).

Module 2
The next 29 days focus on Initial Force Protection Training (IFPT). Known as the ‘Green Phase’ it is run by the RAF Regiment, many with recent operational experience. IFPT develops individual and collective Force Protection skills. Recruits learn about hazards, which course of action to take to minimise risk and maximise recovery and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training. The recruits have to show that they can sustain life in a variety of circumstances. Exercise BLUE WARRIOR is the final test consisting of three days of living in field conditions and practising the skills learnt during IFPT. Recruits are assessed throughout their time in the field.

Module 3
In the last 11 days of training the recruits take their final RAFFT and have their final kit inspection. Failure of either results in immediate re-flight, with successful recruits preparing for the graduation ceremony. Arms Drill leads into graduation rehearsals where the reviewing officer escalates at each practice eventually to the Stn Cdr on the day before graduation. On the big day, proud parents, friends and family are sat in the new stands on the parade square and watch the recruits demonstrate all their effort and determination of the past few weeks on the parade square. After the ceremony parents meet with the staff they have heard so much about and the new friends all the recruits have made. Once parents, families and friends leave, the Graduation Party can begin and the recruits can finally relax.

For some the path through training can be a rocky one. Individuals who find themselves removed through injury/illness or who are required to re-visit training objectives are transferred to Development Flight. With the assistance of specialist instructors and medical staff, the recruits receive rehabilitation, training and supervision, as required, to optimise their skills and knowledge to facilitate their return to mainstream training.

Experiencing difficulties at one time or another is a normal part of Service life and can happen for many reasons. In addition to the RAF-wide Welfare Support agencies, Welfare & Support Staff (WaSP) instructors have additional competencies to assist in their supportive role at RTS. WaSP provide a safe environment in which it is possible to gain insight into the issues causing conflict, confusion or distress. Common issues include work-related stress, relationship problems, lack of self-esteem, bereavement and loss, and even homesickness.

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