Army Training Center (ATC) Pirbright, conducts Phase 1 training course consisting of 14 weeks known as the Common Military Syllabus.
This syllabus is completed by all cap badge recruits (age 17+), apart from the infantry. The course is designed to develop the individuals and team skills in a progressive manner and help recruits prepare for their Initial Trade Training. ATC Pirbright also delivers the Soldier Development Course, MOD1 and MOD2 basic training for Reservist and Recruiting.
I have always aspired to become an instructor for the Gurkha Company (Catterick). However, never had I once thought that I’d be a section commander of Phase 1 in ATC Pirbright. Having never stepped outside of The Second Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR), and having no prior knowledge about ATC Pirbright, I must say I was nervous and anxious but despite it all, I came to ATC Pirbright with a positive attitude and the right mindset on November 2017.
We as section commander work to transform the recruits from a civilian to a soldier in a span of 14 weeks. A section commander needs to understand and adapt with the needs of every recruit, which includes culture, religion, background, welfare status similar to our basic training in Gurkha Company (Catterick) but different in many ways. Initially, I thought that as long as I am professional and competent in my field it would be smooth sailing as there must not have been many changes within the training itself but that was not the case. As time passed, I came to realise that teaching the syllabus of phase 1 training is only a fraction of the role of a section commander. Must of the time we had to mentor and share from our own experiences and keep them in their right state of mind, not pushing them too hard.
Something that I believe is different from being an instructor in Gurkha Company (Catterick) is that we in times have to look after more vulnerable recruits: these may include under 18s, overseas recruits (other than Nepalese), care leavers and those with especially difficult backgrounds. Having worked with mostly male counterpart I was a little nervous about the having a female in my section but in time I was able to understand, mentor and teach them without any issues. I did however learn that there may be times when you may have to use different teaching style and a different way of motivating them unlike the male counterpart.
I have been able to work in a multi-cap-badge environment which has given me a better understanding of other trades. I have become more culturally aware, not only of the English culture but of the Commonwealth. I have continuously developed my leadership and management skills by observing and learning and attending many career developing courses. ATC Pirbright provides great opportunity to develop yourself in many aspects of life.
By Corporal Prabin Rai, The Second Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles