Initial Officer Training Programme

Having passed the Cadet Force Commissioning Board, new officers are commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants and begin a two-year probationary period.

As a new officer you will be expected to undertake a year-long programme of tailored training to ensure you have the tools you need to fulfil your role. This Initial Officer Training programme (IOT) is undertaken online so you can fit it in around the demands of family, work and cadets. (Having completed the course you will also earn a Level 4 Certificate from the Institute of Leadership and Management – a well-respected qualification that could help you in their civilian career.)

The IOT course is made up of six modules (including a portfolio of ‘practical activities’ which is completed at your own pace). Modules are broken down into ‘units’ and you will be expected to complete one unit every couple of weeks. Some units will take about an hour or two and some will take more (depending on the content of the unit, your experience and other commitments).

The practical tasks that make up Module 6 are mentioned right at the start of the course to make you aware of them and the need to plan which tasks you can undertake and at what times throughout the year to satisfy the criteria.

When you start the IOT you will be given the details of your course Tutor and should find out who your unit Mentor will be. The Tutor’s role is to guide you through the learning materials and to answer any questions about them. The Mentor is someone you should already know who has been appointed by your Commandant to give you a local perspective on the practical elements of the course. They should help you to overcome any practical issues that you face in being able to take part in the course.

The IOT consists of:


Module 1 - The cadet forces and your place in them as an officer
Module 2 - Leadership
Self development; values and standards; the ACF charter and ethos; characteristics of an officer; roles and responsibilities; understanding leadership; goal setting and decision making; leadership in the ACF; setting standards


Module 3 - Information and communications
Module 4 - Practical application of leadership
IT; research skills and organisation of information; effective communication; recruiting and marketing; planning; problem solving; managing people and situations; mentoring; risk and responsibility.


Module 5 - Additional responsibilities
Module 6 - Complete portfolio tasks (throughout)
Duties; the Officers’ Mess; funds; run an event external to the detachment; run an outdoor training event; attend (and ideally participate in) a ceremonial event; participate in a training event above detachment level; give a briefing about the Army.

The course culminates with a weekend at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to allow participants to apply what they have learnt and celebrate their achievements. Prizes are awarded, participants get to meet the other people on the course and are invited to bring along a guest to the prize presentation and final lunch.

When you complete your probation you will be confirmed in your commission and get promoted to Lieutenant.