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Education on operations

Education does not stop when the Army deploys on operations. Wherever possible, we continue to deliver the same range of educational services as those in the UK and Germany. This includes officer and soldier promotion courses, basic skills advice and assistance, language support, personal development courses (mainly through e-learning) and basic resettlement advice.

Serving personnel can choose to go to Theatre Education Centres (TECs), their Learning Development Officers (LDOs) or attached Educational and Training Services (ETS) officers for help in their on-going education while deployed.

Theatre Education Centres

TECs are set up wherever the Army needs them. In the recent past, TECs have operated in the Balkans and Iraq; the facility in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan closed in August 2014 after more than 9 years in operation. TECs deliver a full range of courses and development opportunities for personnel on operations and a TEC would be established during similar large or medium scale operations in the future.

Learning Development Officers

LDOs based in Army Education Centres (AECs) can provide or facilitate a range of activities to directly support units’ preparations for deployment. This can include assisting a unit to identify its priorities for mandatory education, facilitating cultural awareness and language training and running study days or briefings to assist with personnel’s understanding of a country or region.

Depending on the needs of the unit, LDOs may then accompany them on operations or exercise to continue their support. This has occurred in Gibraltar, the Falklands, Kenya, Cyprus and Belize to name but a few.

Specialist staff to support your education

Currently LDOs are deployed whenever the Army conducts operations. Their main roles are to provide educational support to their unit and deliver functional skills support, language training and cultural capability training.

In addition, dependent on the operational situation, they may be given other tasks by their Commanding Officers, such as assisting with psychological, media or influence operations. They will usually be part of their Battle Group for up to a year – six months prior to operational deployment and six months on operations.

Languages and cultural capability

Language skills are key to successful modern military operations, engagement with our allies and for the building of mutual understanding and friendship with countries within which we have interests. Educational and Training Services officers can facilitate basic pre-deployment language and cultural capability training to those about to deploy on operations through liaison with the Defence Cultural and Language Centre and the Defence Cultural Specialist Unit. The ability to speak to the local population in their own language is an invaluable asset and knowledge of the local language and customs can make a significant difference to the success of both operations and overseas engagement tasks, including military training teams.

The Army Language Strategy includes a requirement for all officers to demonstrate a survival level speaking and listening competency in any language in order to be selected for sub-unit command appointments from 2018. It also provides opportunities for large numbers of soldiers to be trained in a variety of priority languages in support of Defence Engagement overseas and interoperability with our allies. The two key languages are French and Arabic but other priorities include Russian, Spanish, Dari and Somali.

Low level language courses at survival level are requested by Brigades and run from Army Education Centres using contracted tutors. Self-study resources such as Rosetta Stone and Michel Thomas are also available.

Those individuals wishing to study a language for their own personal development should contact the Army Library Information Service (ALIS) or visit them online through Armynet to access language resources.