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Combat Infantryman's Course - PARA

Much is demanded of recruits at ITC Catterick, both mentally and physically. All recruits must be prepared, arrive with a positive attitude and be ready to learn a lot. Recruits usually find that Army life is different from anything they have experienced, and they need to adjust quickly to the Army’s discipline and rules.

Course overview

The Combat Infantryman’s Course – PARA builds up recruits’ skills and fitness bit by bit. In rough order, this involves learning individual skills first, followed by team/section skills and then platoon skills, ending with an assessment.

During training, recruits are taught the importance of discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others. They learn that being a soldier is about putting others first and having the courage to do the right thing in any given situation.

This version of the CIC is two weeks longer than the Line Infantry version. Greater emphasis is placed on fitness, bearing in mind the higher fitness standards of the Parachute Regiment.

Personal administration

Personal administration means everything to do with looking after self and kit, in the field as well as in camp. The more organised a man is, the easier he will find it to live like a soldier.  

Weapons training

Recruits learn how to handle the SA80 rifle, the Light Machine Gun and the General Purpose Machine Gun, as well as how to use night viewing devices. They start on simulators before moving on to ranges and field firing exercises. There’s a five-day live firing exercise at the end of the course.


Drill means military procedures and movements, such as marching and parading. Learning drill makes a soldier disciplined and teaches him to take pride in his appearance and manner.

The Pass Out Parade at the end of training is a public demonstration of these skills. 


These are the basic skills a soldier needs to work and survive in the field. Areas covered include camouflage and concealment, map reading, observation, first aid and defence measures.

Skills are tested in exercises during the course, culminating in a final exercise during Week 23.


There's lots of exercise in the course including sports, running, gym work, swimming, the assault course and general physical training. Fitness is very important. The training is tough, so it’s important that recruits get in shape before they arrive at ITC Catterick. The fitter they are, the easier it is. It’s vital that recruits don't let their fitness slip between selection and arrival at ITC Catterick.

To get fit, and stay that way, we suggest that recruits put an exercise programme together. The programme needs to combine stamina exercises – such as running and swimming – and strength exercises like press-ups. Recruits should spend between 40 and 60 minutes exercising, four days a week. Recruits due to arrive at ITC Catterick will find the Army Fitness site useful – click ‘Fitness’ on the right.


Adventurous Training is an important part of the course, comprising challenging outdoor activities, such as abseiling, kayaking and rock climbing. All these improve a soldier's teamwork and initiative. And they’re great fun too!

Soldiers work as a team, so it is important everyone shares the same values.

At the end of the course

The Passing Out Parade at the end of the course is often one of the proudest moments in a soldier’s life. But even then, the challenge will be only just beginning. They must go on to understand what being an infantryman really means, and how they fit into the bigger picture of military life and operations.