Few people could have predicted the impact that Covid-19 would have on people at all levels of the Armed Forces and how it would change the working environment of everybody in the country. The sudden shift away from the workplace has empowered junior commanders and highlighted the need for agility and flexibility. Members of The Royal Welsh, from Officers to Fusiliers, have risen to the challenge incredibly well. We have all adapted the way our training and teaching is delivered, ensuring we stay current and competent, and most importantly being able and ready to perform our job effectively when required.
As many organisations worldwide have found, the use of video conferencing has served as the foundation to a large amount of the work that we are now doing. Online video conference platforms have allowed us to have vibrant and engaging group discussions, giving everyone an opportunity to interact daily with their peers. Discussions have been had on a wide variety of subjects and have ranged from the Regimental Victoria Cross winners to case studies on significant armoured battles. In preparation for the online sessions the Fusiliers are required to conduct several hours of detailed research throughout the week resulting in a group presentation, followed in depth analysis of the subject. This work has stretched the comfort boundaries of many, but it will undoubtedly prove beneficial on returning to normal Battalion life.
Despite being in lockdown and training now taking place virtually, in some respects, training has continued as normal. The theoretical aspect of The Military Annual Trainings Tests (MATTS), which assess basic soldiering skills, have been conducted throughout lockdown. To further and compliment the skills in MATTS, the Battle Craft Syllabus (BCS) has been delivered over various platforms to reach everyone and cover a range of learning styles. This theory will set the conditions to enable our Fusiliers to fight, protect and sustain themselves in a complex and hostile environment by day and by night.
The PTIs have played a leading role in the dispersed learning programme. By using the Regiments social media, they have posted a wide variety of videos providing a range of different workouts all of which can be done at home. This, with the addition of Strava to track all training done, has proved a great source of motivation and competition, which has kept everyone engaged over the past 12 weeks. This ensures everyone can maintain holistic approach to their training and return to work physically ready.
Fusilier Gleghorn, C Company neatly summarised and stated that “dispersed learning gave me the opportunity to explore several Open University (OU) courses that I would otherwise not have done. Along side this I have started learning French and Spanish, all of which I intend to continue when work returns to normal. The zoom lessons have been of great use to me as I intend on being in the next PNCO cadre, and they have given me a great insight into the roles of a section 2IC and section commander.”