Four new Cambridgeshire adult instructors have qualified at the Advanced Instructors Cadre (AIC) – the first to be able to do so since the pandemic began.
The AIC, delivered by 7 Brigade Cadet Training Team (CTT), ran in a shortened form at Linford Home Farm, part of the Army’s West Tofts Training Camp, Thetford, on 10th-14th May. As residential training was not possible due to the pandemic, the students travelled from home to Thetford separately each day for five days and returned home each evening.
Emily White and Adrian Sharman.
The ten Probationary Instructors (PIs) who attended included four from our county. Ed Marriot, Adrian Sharman, Emily White and Dave Britchford all successfully completed the course and have become qualified instructors.
The emphasis of AIC is training and assessing the candidate’s ability to teach cadets and adults. The candidates delivered their first Teaching Practice (TP) on the subject of Navigation (Map and Compass). The following day they prepared and delivered a lesson on fieldraft. The final day of delivering TPs was focussed on foot drill. These three subjects are key aspects in both Basic and One Star Level lessons. Map and Compass navigation consisted of teaching care and use of maps, four and six figure grid references, and grid bearings; fieldcraft lessons included duties of a sentry, basha construction and hand signals; the final topic of foot drill instruction focussed on saluting to the front, turning at the halt, and marching and halting.
Ed Marriot and Dave Britchford, at a recent training weekend.
These TPs were extremely well supported with exceptional teamwork from all of the candidates and guidance from the instructors. The importance of teamwork was a vital theme of the course, with candidates of different abilities and skill levels supporting each other to reach the required standard. The TPs were evaluated not only by the course leaders, but also by the other candidates who adopted the role of ‘student’. Additionally, the candidate delivering their TP were required to self-evaluate the success of the lesson they themselves had taught. Feedback is considered a critical input to the improvement process.
Emily White demonstrates construction of a basha at the AIC course.
The PIs were given plenty of time to prepare each lesson, and supported with good equipment and information. The candidates were encouraged to think creatively, to bounce suggestions off one another, and to try out the resulting ideas.
The AIC is normally held at Beckingham, Lincolnshire, but had to be relocated locally as residential activity is not possible at this time. The course was also several days shorter than a standard AIC, the candidates had to bring their own food, wear a mask in the classroom, and socially distance. This reduced course was suitable for this particular group of PIs due to their extensive previous experience, with Dave Britchford having been a soldier in The Royal Anglian Regiment, Adrian Sharman having been an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals (TA) and Emily White and Ed Marriot having significant cadet experience, with Emily reaching the rank of Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major.
The course included training on the Army Cadet Safety Management System, and the candidates finished by producing a risk assessment.
The new instructors presented bottles of claret to their instructors, SSgts Rob Stone and Jimmy McCallion. Here, Adrian Sharman is presenting a card and joke certificate to SSgt McCallion to commemorate his first AIC as an instructor.
The newly promoted Instructors were extremely positive about the course, with Adrian Sharman saying: ‘There was excellent teamwork and we all supported each other. The camaraderie was great, we got to know each other and were able to help those who struggled in certain areas. The instructors were quite tough on us at first, as they wanted to see progression, but when they saw improvement, they began to relax their oversight and allow us more flexibility. PIs who go to AIC in the future should remember to prepare for delivering lessons, try to improve their confidence and delivery with plenty of practice, and be prepared to adapt and improvise.’
SI Emily White had this advice for prospective AIC candidates; ‘Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you don’t have to get everything right. There is room for initiative, so don’t be afraid to try things.’
Text by PI Douglas Stuart with thanks to SI Emily White and Adrian Sharman.