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Proud warriors leave training course with life skills

June 8, 2011

Delighted staff and VIP guests watched as 850 brand new Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers proudly paraded on 2 June, to mark the end of their training at the new Regional Military Training Centre (South West). 

Located at Camp Shorabak, part of the Camp Bastion complex in Helmand Province, RMTC(SW) turns raw recruits from all over Afghanistan into trained soldiers, ready to join their kandaks (regiments) on operations in Helmand.

850 ANA 'Warriors' on inaugural RMTC (SW) graduation ceremony. Photo: Maj Dale Clarke RA. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

The 850 are the first ANA warriors to graduate at the new centre, and the course has been hailed as a major success, with almost every recruit who joined up present at the final passing out parade. The course is run and delivered by a cadre of highly experienced ANA personnel, assisted by a multinational team drawn from the International Security Force Afghanistan (ISAF). Commander of the British contingent, Major Jeremy Crossley, MC, from 1st Battalion The Rifles, says that the Afghan trainers took control of their course from the start: “We are here to support the ANA trainers and mentor them. What has been very encouraging is their determination to take ownership of the training and modify our ideas to provide a course that ideally suits Afghan recruits and instructors.”

A member of the ANA taking the salute at the inaugural ceremony. Photo: Maj Dale Clarke RA. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

The intensive, two-month, Basic Warrior Training Course not only covers military subjects, but also gives the recruits literacy and numeracy skills. Over 80% of the course achieved a literacy qualification and 38 warriors were awarded the Level 3 certificate, the highest level set by the Afghan government Ministry of Education. Colonel Shah Wali, the Commanding Officer of RMTC(SW) is keen to stress that literacy and numeracy skills are amongst the most highly rated benefits for ANA recruits, and of national importance: “Literacy training is an important part of training for the ANA, and, overall, for Afghanistan. We are very proud of what our recruits have achieved.”

Lieutenant Kathryn Drinkall, Royal Navy, Literacy Mentor to RMTC(SW), is delighted at the efforts made by students and staff, “The literacy rate amongst the Afghan National Army (ANA) is currently around 20%: to get an 80% pass rate on the first course at RMTC is a tremendous achievement for the recruits and instructors alike. It is an honour to be part of the mentoring team working with the ANA and see the progress that has been made.”

The 200 best students on the Basic Warrior Course will stay on at RMTC(SW), progressing to the Team Leaders Course, and – building on success – a second Basic Warrior Course is about to start at RMTC(SW) with 1,400 new recruits.

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