Although typically initial military training is fieldcraft, drill and physical training, the Potential Officer Development Programme (PODP) is specifically aimed at boosting analytical thinking in soldiers and civilians who are hoping to attend the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
To develop analysis, cultural awareness and verbal communication skills, the PODP use art, theatre and exposure to places of worship as well as visits to the Ministry of Defence and the Houses of Parliament for a wider view.
The trip came at the halfway point of a twelve-week course which also involves adventurous training and more traditional elements such as a week-long navigation exercise in Dartmoor. Students should develop physically and intellectually, but personal development is also key as they reflect and set goals for the future.
The Army operates in the human domain, an understanding of our own culture allows personnel to work with other nationalities, potentially in unfamiliar places. The PODP course primes potential officers to do this and most importantly to communicate their analysis to their future soldiers.
Whilst the course may not have identified the boundaries of art but by broadening their knowledge and exposure to contrasting cultures, they will have improved their ability to analyse and communicate for the future.