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The Royal Army Physical Training Corps thinking laterally

Under the Future Soldier concept the Army Reserve is growing and assuming a far more significant role as the regular component reduces. In fact, within the whole force approach Reservist soldiers will be fully integrated to operate alongside as equals to their regular colleagues.

Consequently, there is a greater emphasis to recruit more and more reservist personnel into the myriad of different occupations available in today’s Army Reserve; but it is into the more niche areas that it becomes more challenging.

One of those areas being that of a Physical Training Instructor or PTI for short. To address this the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) is in the vanguard of introducing what is referred to as lateral entry when it comes to recruiting potential Reservist Army PTIs.

“If you are a civilian with no military background whatsoever, but you work in physical training – we want you, because you will be able to bring something to the whole force party, why would we not want to utilise that.”   Captain Steve Green, Royal Army Physical Training Corps

So what is lateral entry you may well ask? it means that the corps will recognise the experience and qualifications of those looking to become an Army Reservist PTI who have a background in the sports and leisure industry and allow them to enlist as a Sergeant instead of having to work their way up from being a Private soldier. They would in effect enter the RAPTC at a rank commensurate with their civilian position or grade – like for like or ‘laterally’.

It delivers a symbiotic benefit; for the RAPTC, they welcome someone already experienced and suitably qualified and for the individual the financial gain is very attractive as the figures reveal: initial pay for a new entrant Army Reserve Private is £40.76 per day whereas a RAPTC lateral entry Sergeant could expect to start at £93.05.

It is designed to attract typically someone who works in a leisure centre, gymnasium, sports club or runs their own bootcamp and has gained their Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport & Physical Activity (CIMPSA) Level 3 Diploma in a sport based activity.

They needn’t have had any previous military experience as they will receive exactly the same training as any Army Reservist recruit and will not be assigned for any PTI duties until they have successfully completed the basic PTI Cse and the three PTI basic training modules.

Once they have done that and gone on to pass the advanced course only then can they attend their passing out parade where they will be formally accepted as a RAPTC Physical Training Instructor.

Captain Steve Green speaking of the new system which is expected to go live as of September remarked, “If you are a civilian with no military background whatsoever, but you work in physical training – we want you, because you will be able to bring something to the whole force party, why would we not want to utilise that.”  

“I’m really loving it, It’s two weeks away from my normal job, it’s really physically strenuous and having to teach lessons brings me out of my comfort zone a lot. I can find myself next to 6ft 4” boy that are double my weight, but it’s training to get to the same standard as them everything here is gender free. It keeps me on my toes for sure, it’s exciting and I enjoy having to prove myself.” Lance Corporal Ashley Chen Cooper, Army Reservist

Army Reservist Lance Corporal Ashley Chen Cooper, A City of London investment analyst is currently going through the traditional route and is in the process of completing her advanced PTI Course, she said: “I’m really loving it, It’s two weeks away from my normal job, it’s really physically strenuous and having to teach lessons brings me out of my comfort zone a lot.

"I can find myself next to 6ft 4” boy that are double my weight, but it’s training to get to the same standard as them everything here is gender free. It keeps me on my toes for sure, it’s exciting and I enjoy having to prove myself.”

Where once it was all just about repetitive physical exercise, today the RAPTC’s remit encompasses: sports science, physiology, sports psychology, health, wellbeing and diet to name but a few disciplines that has sent it’s instructors to win Olympic gold medals, scale the highest peaks and row across the world’s oceans.