Selection and training in the British Army is the process by which candidates for service are identified, inducted and brought onto the trained strength. The process is the responsibility of the Adjutant General, the personnel director for the Army based at Trenchard Lines in Wiltshire.


Candidates for all three of the British Armed Forces are first handled through Armed Forces Career Offices which are located in major conurbations around the United Kingdom supporting the respective recruitment functions. The selection process involves a number of suitability interviews, an aptitude test to identify training potential, medical and fitness assessments and a residential selection board. For potential soldiers this will include an opportunity to select a Regiment or Corps, as well as a trade to join. Later training is oriented around this choice. Officer candidates will, during the selection process, become sponsored by a Regiment or Corps to undertake training. This sponsor does not undertake to accept the candidate on completion of officer training.

Regular Army

British Army Training

Candidates for the Army undergo common training to bring all personnel to a similar standard in basic military skills, further specialist training is delivered subject to the Regiment or Corps that the individual has been identified as a candidate for. Completion of Phase 2 training brings the individual onto the trained strength however each of the British Armed Forces will continue to deliver specialist and generalist training throughout the individual career.

Much training in the British Armed Forces has been accredited by various awarding bodies, resulting in the opportunity to gain civilian qualifications through service training activities.

The structure of training is different for soldiers and officers:

British Army Soldier Training

There are two phases in the training for recruits into the regular army, phase 1 encompasses the Common Military Syllabus (Recruits) (CMSR) and phase 2 delivered by specialisation. CMSR covers the skills needed to survive and operate in a field environment, fitness and seeks to imbue the ethos and principles of the British Army. The trainee is required to demonstrate competence in thirteen training objectives over the fourteen week course.

Phase 1

The initial phase features the basic training for all new recruits.

Prospective soldiers attend either one of five training establishments:

Title Name Course length Attendees
Army Foundation College Harrogate 42 wk All Arms Junior Soldier
Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn 14 wk
  • Royal Armoured Corps
  • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
  • Household Cavalry
  • Royal Engineers
Army Training Centre Pirbright 14 wk 2 Regiments
  • All adult female recruits
  • Royal Artillery
  • Royal Corps of Signals
  • Royal Logistic Corps
  • Army Air Corps
  • Adjutant General's Corps
  • Intelligence Corps
  • Army Medical Services
  • Corps of Army Music
  • Corps of Royal Engineers
Army Technical Foundation College Winchester 23 wk All Arms Junior soldiers
Infantry Training Centre Catterick 26 wk Infantry recruits, combined Phase 1 and 2

Phase 1 training is intended to bring all soldiers to a base level of military competency, capable of operating in the field, force protection, operational security and displaying the other characteristics of a member of the British Army. The training embeds the core values:

  • Courage
  • Discipline
  • Respect for others
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Selfless Commitment

Phase 2

The second phase involves the new officer or soldier training for branch of the service they wish to specialise in, and then undergoing the specific training. This is with one of the specialist schools located around the country:

Name Location Arm Comments
Infantry Training Centre Catterick Infantry Combined Phase 1 and 2
Armour Centre Bovington Camp
  • Royal Armoured Corps
  • Household Cavalry
RAC Depot
Royal School of Artillery Larkhill Royal Artillery n/a
School of Army Aviation Middle Wallop Army Air Corps AAC Depot
Royal School of Military Engineering Various Royal Engineers HQ Brompton Barracks
Royal School of Signals Blandford Camp Royal Corps of Signals R.Sigs Depot
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Training Group Various Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers HQ Arborfield Garrison
Defence Logistic Support Training Group Various Logistics Corps HQ Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut
Defence Medical Services Training Centre Keogh Barracks Royal Army Medical Corps To close 2010
AGC Training Group Worthy Down Barracks Adjutant General's Corps HQ AGC
Defence College of Policing and Guarding Southwick Park Royal Military Police Joint Service
Royal Military School of Music Kneller Hall Corps of Army Music HQ CAM
Defence Intelligence and Security Centre Chicksands Intelligence Corps HQ Int Corps

British Army Infantry Training Centre

As of 2001, infantry training is undertaken as a single 26 week course (28 weeks for the parachute regiment, or any of the five guards regiments) at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick Garrison, as opposed to being divided into Phase 1 and Phase 2 training. The ITC is divided into four separate battalions; these are divided into companies, each of which are responsible for one of the infantry's administrative divisions:

  • 1st Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • Queen's Division Company
    • King's Division Company
    • Light Division Company
  • 2nd Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • Scottish Division Company
    • Prince of Wales's Division Company
    • Somme Company
  • 3rd Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • Guards Division Company
    • Parachute Regiment Company
    • Gurkha Company
    • Gurkha Language Wing
  • 4th Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • HQ Company
    • Williams Company
    • Hook Company
    • Army School of Ceremonial
    • Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drums
    • Gym EL Wing

British Army Officer Training

  • Officers: Prospective officers first attend the Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB) to determine whether they are suited to become officers. Once they pass the (AOSB), they attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where they undergo basic training, not just in the elements of soldiering, but also leadership. The Commissioning Course, which is the standard course for new regular officers, lasts 44 weeks. However, there are also short course for those with professional qualifications (in Medicine, Law or Clergy) that provides basic military training.

Territorial Army


For TA soldiers, recruit training is structured into two phases: Phase 1, also known as the Common Military Syllabus (Recruit) (CMS(R)) Course, and Phase 2, specialist training.

Phase 1

In Phase 1, recruits cover the Trained Soldier Course (TAC) part A (this replaced CMS(R)in 2009) in a series of 6 training weekends at Regional Training Centres (RTCs). For non-infantry units, TSC concludes with a two week training course (TSC Part B) normally held at an Army Training Regiment, whilst infantry recruits have an extra 3 weekends and then go directly to their Phase 2 Training at Catterick. Recruits to the 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment and the Honourable Artillery Company complete their equivalent of CMS(R) within their own units.

Phase 2

Phase 1 is followed by Phase 2, a further period of specialist training specific to the type of unit the recruit is joining. This is normally conducted by the Arm or Service that the recruit is joining, for example for infantry units, Phase 2 consists of the two week Combat Infantryman's Course (TA) (CIC (TA)) held at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick.

British Army Training Officers

To gain a commission, Potential Officers have to pass through four modules of training, which together form the Territorial Army Commissioning Course (TACC).

Module 1 is the same as the Common Military Syllabus (Recruit) course. As many Officers initially serve a period of time as Soldiers, this module is only undertaken by the minority that join the TA directly as Potential Officers under the Direct Entry TA Potential Officer (DETAPO) system.

Module 2 covers training in Tactics, Leadership, Doctrine and Navigation, both in theory and in practice, and a further series of selection and aptitude tests are undertaken, usually spread over 10 weekends. This also includes passing The Army Officer Selection Board Briefing and Main Board, after which Potential Officers are formally designated as Officer Cadets.

Module 3 applies the theory taught in Module 2 into a 9 day Battle Camp. Modules 1 to 3 are run by Regional Training Centres around the UK.

Module 4. Passing the AOSB and Module 3 then enables Officer Cadets to attend an intensive three week Assessment at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which forms Module 4.

On successful completion of Module 4, the Officer Cadets receive their Commission and become Second Lieutenants. Further training that is required prior to them being considered for operational deployment and promotion to Lieutenant includes:

Post Commissioning Training (formerly known as Module 5), again run at an RTC, over 3 weekends.

Special To Arm training is specific to the type of unit the Subaltern is joining, for example, the 2 week Platoon Commander's Battle Course held at the Infantry Battle School in Brecon.

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