Scottish soldiers start leadership journey

35 soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland recently paraded at Redford Barracks in front of family and friends after passing a gruelling six week leadership course.

The Infantry Section Second in Command (2IC) course provides junior soldiers with the skills they need to lead other infantrymen into combat. The course is the crucial first step on the leadership journey for these soldiers as it prepares them for promotion to Lance Corporal. Passing the course also gives them a civilian qualification - a BTec level three in management.

The course has taught me to remember to lead from the front Lance Corporal Crawford

One of the students on the course, Private Fraser Hall of 3 SCOTS, said: “We started off with a two week range package, which was a steep learning curve, learning how to teach marksmanship principles and things like that. Then we did four weeks tactics, which was demanding. It was quite robust training, putting us through our paces, which is the way the infantry rolls. You just need to get through it and get the job done.”

Private Hall, who is a piper in 3 SCOTS Pipes & Drums, picked up the award for ‘Top Shot’ on the course. He credits his previous experiences with the shooting team of his former battalion, 5 SCOTS, with whom he spent four weeks in Australia, as the basis for this achievement. He said: “I like to get my rounds down the range, and there were a lot of ranges on this course!”

Private Kyle Crawford of 1 SCOTS was selected as ‘Top Student’ on the course having been singled out by his instructors for his self-sacrifice and willingness to go the ‘extra mile’ for his fellow students. His reward was immediate promotion to Lance Corporal.

Lance Corporal Crawford said: “The course was good but hard. Going from exercising on the training range to sitting in the classroom can be quite hard to adapt to. You come on the course not knowing a lot of people, maybe two or three and it gives you an insight into what’s going on in the other battalions. The course has taught me to remember to lead from the front and that respect needs to be earned.”

Having been selected as Top Student, Lance Corporal Crawford then led the parade off the square. “It [the parade] was a very proud moment. It was good marching out in front of my family who were here to see me and not just that but to represent the rest of the boys.

With The Royal Regiment of Scotland set to be joined within a new administrative Division of Infantry by The Royal Welsh Regiment and The Royal Irish Regiment, the next leadership course of this type will be much expanded.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Perkins explains: “With the changes to the divisional system announced just before Christmas coming into effect on the 1st April, the next course of this type will see our SCOTS soldiers developing their leadership skills alongside their Royal Welsh and Royal Irish counterparts.

“The instructors on our Regimental Training Team have done an awesome job in drawing together soldiers from across our magnificent Scottish battalions, sharing leadership best practice and improving standards across the Regiment. Our current training model will be the basis for the new Division to build on, and no doubt the inherently competitive nature of our Jocks and their celtic cousins will mean that future courses will identify and develop even stronger junior leaders for the Infantry. We’ve developed an incredibly strong bedrock leadership course here to shape the next generation of junior commanders.”