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Combat Infantryman's Course - Foot Guards

Much is demanded of recruits at  Guards Training Company, ITC Catterick, both mentally and physically. All recruits need to 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 discipline and rules of the Army.

Course overview

The Combat Infantryman's Course – Foot Guards, builds up skills and fitness at a gradual pace. This involves learning individual skills first, followed by Section and then Platoon skills, ending with an assessment in all subjects of which you have to be able to pass.

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 know the right thing to do in any given situation.

This version of the Combat Infantryman's Course is two weeks longer than the Line Infantry version. Drill is covered in greater detail, bearing in mind the importance of the Ceremonial Duties undertaken by the Household Division.

Personal administration

Personal administration is everything to do with looking after yourself and your kit, in the field as well as in Barracks. The more organised a man is, the easier he will find it to live like a soldier in the close proximity of others.

Weapons training

Recruits learn how to handle the SA80 5.56mm A2 Rifle, the Light Machine Gun, the General Purpose Machine Gun, and the use of 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 Passing Out Parade at the end of training is a public demonstration of these skills. The Parade is based on a mini Queens Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) that is conducted yearly in June at Horse Guards Parade in London in front of HM Queen Elizabeth ll. 


These are the basic skills a soldier needs to work and survive in the field. Subjects include camouflage and concealment, map reading, observation, first aid, patrolling, attack and defence measures amongst others. All these subjects will be taught and tested during 3 Tactical Exercises culminating in a final exercise lasting 5 days, living and operating in the field.


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 the course will be.

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, three days a week minimum. 

The link to the Army Fitness site, listed on the right under 'Get fit, stay fit' will be of use to recruits due to arrive at ITC Catterick.


Adventurous Training is an important part of the course. This comprises of 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.

The End

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 be beginning. They must go on to understand what being a Guardsman really means, and how they fit into the bigger picture of military life. Your new career and life as a Guardsman will be challenging, rewarding and most of all fun.