Reserve Forces: Training:Written question - HL5550

Asked by Lord Touhig
Asked on: 27 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Reserve Forces: Training
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what military training is given to new reservists, and how that training compares to military training given to new recruits to the regular forces.
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 10 February 2016

Military training is provided for all new Reservists and the training provided is dependent on which of the Services they join. Detailed below are the specific training details for each Service:


Reservists new to the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) and the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) undertake tailored training programmes that reflect as closely as possible that undertaken during Regular service initial (Phase 1) training. This is provided in a blended format consisting of; Marine Reserve unit training nights, engagement (currently only RNR) with material on a virtual learning environment hosted on the defence intranet gateway, a number of dedicated weekends which then lead to attendance on a two week Confirmation Course that allows the Reservist to pass out alongside their Regular counterparts at the relevant Naval Service Initial training establishment.

For the RNR, that blended initial training develops Core Maritime Skills (CMS) and includes basic health and safety, learning to live together on a mess deck and in field conditions, basic fitness (including passing a swimming test), parade training, operating in the maritime environment, weapon handling, damage control and general naval knowledge. For the RMR, Unit training is focused on building physical endurance, whilst weekends develop Military Annual Training Test (MATT) skills for operating in field conditions and includes basic field admin, harbour routines, field craft and navigation, and patrolling. Throughout initial training the RNR and RMR are tested to the same basic standards as their regular counterparts and on successful completion are awarded the same competencies.

Potential RNR Officers must pass the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB) before commencing RNR Initial Naval Training (INT). Their first year (RNR INT 1A) is a similar programme to RNR Ratings, which build CMS and the fundamentals of being an officer prior to a Pre-assessment weekend ahead of attending the two weeks RNR Officers Confirmation Course at the Britannia Royal Naval College. Their second year (RNR INT1B) focuses on developing Command, Leadership and Management as well as three weekends and two weeks at sea on a RN warship. Completion of RNR Officers INT is achieved by gaining a pass at the RNR Fleet Board.

In their third year of training, RNR Junior Officers undertake the Divisional Officers Course and Junior Officers Leadership 1 Course. Attendees can select to undertake either the RN version of these courses or RNR versions (run at weekends).

Aspiring RMR Officers will have come through RMR Other Ranks training to gain their Green Beret before attending AIB. On successful completion and in the following two years they will undertake four two-week training packages alongside their regular counterparts at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. In-unit training (drill nights and weekends) is a significant part of the development programme to build RMR and Officer ethos and completion of officer training is signified by successful assessment of their training log.


Those seeking a commission as an officer with the Army Reserve and who pass the Army Officer Selection Board undertake the Army Reserve Commissioning Course at Sandhurst. This consists of four two-week modules, the first two of which can be taken in other ways (e.g. through a University Officer Training Corps).

The training provided to new members of the Army Reserve is broadly similar in design to that of their Regular counterparts and shares much of the resources, facilities and equipment available for Regular training. Both Reserve and Regular recruits undertake initial ‘Phase 1’ training in order to become effective soldiers and then proceed to ‘Phase 2’ training, where they receive the specific training they need to carry out their defined role.

The first part of initial training for the Army Reserve is known as Phase 1 (Alpha) and is delivered over four training weekends at one of the nine regional Army Training Units, or in a single week-long consolidated period, usually at one of the Army Training Regiments, where Regular recruits also undergo their Phase 1 training. The second part is known as Phase 1 (Bravo) and is delivered at an Army Training Unit by regular instructors over a period of 16 days.

Phase 2 role-specific training is undertaken at the same training locations as Regular Phase 2 training. Infantry training is carried out at Infantry Training Centre, Catterick through the Combat Infantryman’s Course (Reserves.)


For the RAF Reserves, new recruits undertake four weekends of basic military education and training on their units before attending a two week residential course at RAF Halton where they train alongside regular recruits at the Recruit Training Centre. This is referred to as Phase 1 training. Regular recruits undertake a 10 week course.

For the Reservists who will undergo officer training, on completion of the course at RAF Halton, training continues at RAF College Cranwell which consists of four weekends and a two week residential course.

On completion of the Phase 1 course recruits undertake trade specific training referred to as Phase 2. The delivery of Phase 2 to Regulars is through a variety of courses on the training schools taking different lengths of time depending on the Trade. For Reservists, professional training is delivered through a mixed economy of on unit training and modular training at training schools. Over time the modular training builds the Reservist to the same trained standard as the Regular. All Reservist training is designed, delivered and accredited in the same way as Regular trade training.

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