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Defence Broadcasts highlights: Royal Military College, Duntroon

Defence Broadcasts highlights: Royal Military College, Duntroon


Hi everyone, and welcome to
the Army Royal Military College Duntroon live
interactive broadcast. I’m Captain Nick William, and
I’m a second class instructor At the Royal Military College. With me this evening is Captain
Sarah Robinson who is an RMC instructor, as well. What was your favourite
experience at the college, Sarah? So looking back as a kid,
obviously there are number of good experiences and
some not so good experiences, but hardships. So I would say the best
experience for me was the day to day teamwork and mateship
and comradeship with your friends and also your
classmates. So it’s helping each other
in morning duties. It’s winning the sporting
competition. Or it’s supporting
them as a platoon commander in the field. We’ll start off with [INAUDIBLE]
what’s the difference between first,
second, and third class. So life at RMC goes over
an 80 month course. I’ll talk about third class
and second class, and then Sarah will finish off
on first class. So when you come to
the college you start in third class. So it’s the first six months
of your training. And the first few weeks of that
is dedicated to giving you all the kit that
you require. So all your packs, your bags. All the little pieces of
equipment that you’re required to actually do you training
over the next 18 months. You then go out and do
an intensive course. For the next 10 weeks we
learned how to march. You learn how to
shoot a weapon. You learn how to clean
the weapon. You learn how to look after
yourself in the field environment, including cooking
up food, how to patrol tactically. On completion of that you come
back in and you join the [INAUDIBLE] and you get to start
at the lovely Duntroon for the remainder
of your time. So that first ten weeks takes
part of the training you’re at, not far from Canberra
at all. You then come back to the
barracks life and you mix between barracks
and field life. So throughout second class the
milestone is becoming an effective section member
and a section leader. So a section is a
ten man group. You go out there and you work
with nine of your friends to learn how to do all
the basic stuff. You then move into
second class. So in second class we start
really concentrating on a platoon level which is
what the job will be when you first graduate. So that’s 30 people. So that’s three sections, all
joined together working to try and achieve a common goal. During second class you’re
assessed mainly as being an effective platoon leader, but
the whole way through you’re also learning all the
administrative requirements to be able to help you manage and
lead your soldiers, as well as all the basic tactical
considerations so you can plan the exercises that
have to occur. That’s another six
months there. It’s broken into two parts. So you get a bit of a break in
between each class and then they go across to first class. Sarah. Thanks, Nick. So first class is the senior
class, as we call it. Within first class it’s really
the rounding class prior to graduation. So you’ve already proven that
you’re able to lead troops in regards to conventional
activities. And first class really provides
you that, I guess, common training in today’s
age of the military. So you do things in stability
operations. So think about the men
and women deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. But you also do a number of
leadership and ethical type lectures, studies, debates. You also doing activities such
as Strategic Studies. And, again, those daily
administrative processes that you’re required to know as a
junior officer ready for graduation. Within first class as well,
being the senior class, there’s opportunity for you to
actually have a rank or a role within the corp of
staff cadets. So you actually lead and mentor
cadets from third and second class. So developing those leadership
skills whilst a trainee, and, again, ready for graduation. The next question
is from Travis. Once I get through RMC, he
asks, what will my career options be within the Army. Sarah, do you want to
start with that? Thanks, Nick. So within the Army, obviously,
there are a number of career choice. Whether they’re in a combat
corp, for instance, infantry or armoured. Whether they’re in a combat
support corp, for instance signals. Or whether they’re in a
logistics Corps, for instance, such as my corp transport
ordnance and so on. Whilst you’re at RMC, through
second class, which is the second six months, they provide
you a number of corp briefs and give you the basics
of what they actually do. And then when you go into first
class, you get some more professional development by
actually visiting a brigade location where there are all
of these corps represented. And you get to speak to the
junior officers, and also the soldiers that are currently
serving within those units. So that’s what the knowledge
that you get at RMC. Next question is from Jason. What did you find was the most
difficult thing to adjust to going from being a civilian
to life at the Royal Military College. Parts that can be difficult
is that it is initially long days. Having to wear a set uniform. Although some people find it
great, other people miss that little bit of a flamboyance
they have in Starling. That can be something
to get used to. What did you find, Sarah? I just agree with Nick’s first
point in regards to being thrown into an environment
where, at school, or whether you’re workplace you really can
sort of choose who your friends and who you
hang out with. And you sort of have
that common thing. So when you go to RMC,
obviously, everyone has a common goal. But because there’s people from
aged, I could be 17, all the way to 40, with different
life experiences. It’s going through that phase in
which you develop as a team and get to know each other and
use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to actually
get through RMC. So that is definitely, not an
issue at the start, but it is a hurdle for some people
to get through. Our next question comes
from Damien. He asks, in your personal
opinions, what is the best way to prepare for the officer
selection board. Sarah? So part of our duties at RMC
is to actually be the secretary for the officer
selection board. So it’s good that it provides us
a little bit of an insight. Easy to answer this question
from Damien. So the best way to prepare
is to understand what the Army is all about. What is an officer
[INAUDIBLE]? And you also need to identify
what you want out of it and what you can offer Army. What they really look for, on
the particular selection boards, is an honest
performance, you could say, and someone who’s very aware of
what Army life is going to be like, which starts with
an understanding of RMC. Yeah, for sure. Sure. So know the job that
you want to do. If you don’t know the job that
you specifically want to do in Army, have a good understanding
of what Army life is about, your pay
and conditions. I think a good one to probably
be prepared for is to be able to do impromptu speaks for the
board because they ask you do I few little two minute and
three minute speeches. So if you learn how to do the
basic structure of a speech, that will help you. As well as being able to a
dominant leader, because they always look at the traits that
occur amongst the small group they have on the board each time
to see who stands out to be a dominant leader. Because at the end of the day,
that’s where we’re after. We want to try and get someone
who’s already got the natural leadership instincts and teach
them how to apply that in the military way. And so I’ll just quickly touch
on then, so obviously that’s the mental preparation
for that. We’ve also got the physical
preparation as well. Obviously, when you go through
recruiting, you’ll do the initial fitness assessment
which is a beep test, a shuttle test, some push ups
and also some sit ups. What you need to do is prepare
yourself for the best. Don’t just do the minimum. Go far and beyond. Because that really shows that
physical and mental robustness and dedication to wanting to
be a part of the military, specifically training at
RMC to be an office. Next question is
from Mitchell. Captain Robinson, do you feel
that your time at RMC assisted you substantially during your
time in New Guinea? Yes, so, as Mitchell’s pointed
out, when I was a platoon commander, I think I was 20, 21
at the time, I was deployed to Papa New Guinea to provide
humanitarian aid to some locals due to some flooding
at the time. Absolutely. So I was a platoon commander,
as I said, at the time. What also assisted me, however,
was the course that I did post-RMC which was my specialist course for transport. So I had the technical skills,
but I also had the leadership and command skills that
I learned at RMC. And you could sort of look
back and delve in those lessons learned whilst you went
through training at RMC in preparation for
Papa New Guinea. Next question is from Alex. Are there any mature recruits
over the age of 30? And does age limit future
career options? Alex, I haven’t seen any problem
with people being older going through. As I said before, I was
28 when I started. By the time I graduated,
I was 30. There was actually 8 people in
my class that were over 30 at graduation. The class behind me had
a 42-year-old in it. And we currently have quite
a few people over 30. Physical robustness if
you’re over 30 is usually easy to achieve. A lot of young people sometimes
have niggling injuries because their bodies
are still growing and developing because you
still are doing at the age of 18, 19. Whereas you know your limits
a lot more when you are 30. Plus you’re a lot more mentally
robust, prepared, to be able to handle
the hardships. It’s really an age-limiting
factor. Obviously, there is a mandatory
retirement age in defence which is currently
sitting at 60. So you’ve only got 30 years to
get as far as you can, whereas someone who’s 20 has got 40
years to get a bit further. But no, there are commander
officers out there that are 36, and there are commanding
officers out there that are 56. So it actually doesn’t
stop you at all from being any set age. The next question
is from Robert. What are some examples of
exercise and training undertaken at Royal Military
College during training? I’ll just touch on some of the
exercises that we do in regards to field training. So, for example, in third class
I’ve just come back from viewing an exercise. And what has occurred is it was
a two, two and half weeks in the field in which you work
in a section environment. So there’s nine of you
working towards doing basic sort of training. So every day there’ll be
assessments in which one of the cadets will be the
section commander. And they’ll lead a task. So, for example, it might
include some sort of navigation, reconnaissance. Or it might be something
such as an ambush or something of the like. So what will occur is every day
you’ll get given a task. You’ll get time to appreciate
the planning. Come up with a plan. Provide orders to
your section. And then you’ll step off to
achieve your mission. And then come back in and then
you’ll be provided a debrief. So all the exercises are shaped
pretty much the same, but it’s just, obviously, what
time and training you’re in. So for instance, in second
class, you’ll be leading a platoon. Same type of assessment
environment, but it will be up to 30, 35 people. We’ve also both just come back
from an exercise called Exercise Shaggy Ridge, which
is a food and sleep deprivation exercise which
is done in second class. And I’ll let nick provide you
a review of what that actual exercise is. Cheers, Sarah. So it involves, basically,
people learning how far they can push themselves. So they know other physical
limits, as well they know and understand how hard they can
push their solderi,s if they needed to, in really trying
times to be able to get through task. So it’s done at the end of one
of the other activities that you do during second class
normally, although it’s kind of kept a bit of a secret when
it’s going to be for most of the cadets just to keep
them on their toes. So the guys have already
been exhausted. They’ve been outfield for a
while, either walking around 12Ks, 14Ks, a day with packs on
the back, or digging large holes to prepare for
defence operations. They then get this exercises
kind of sprung on them, and they go out and spend a period
of time, which is never predetermined, out covering some
quite large distances, carrying some heavy loads
while getting some very peculiar tasks that aren’t just
your basic, run of the mill stuff. And really do see how they
cope under stressful circumstances. When they get lost in the bush
and they’re trying to negotiate with someone who’s
playing the role of a displaced person who’s desperate
for food and is also getting aggressive for food,
yet they’re in a situation where they’re trying
to calm that. And to see how they go, and to
see how they inspire their own team to give up some of the very
little food that they’ve got to get through
the scenario and see how they do it. It’s quite rewarding. Very rewarding activity to watch
as a staff, and it’s very rewarding activity to
finish and accomplish as a staff cadet. The next question comes from,
I hope I pronounce the name correctly, Goyle, who asks what
is the best way to build leadership skills before
joining ADFA or RMC? So a lot of opportunities to
build your leadership skills we often see from people come
in are generally through sporting clubs, social
committees, and also other formal committees such as fund
raising, red shield, and things like. So involve yourself in the
community would be definitely a good option to go for whether
it is sporting or whether it is committee
type stuff. Because that provides you an
ability to work in the team and also to develop individual
leadership skills to then, obviously, identify that you’ve
got the aptitude and the skill to be able to thrust
yourself into ADFA and RMC ready for training. Yeah, for sure. Also family lifestyle. How you deal with your
mum, dad, brothers, and sisters at home. Whether you’re the brother or
sister that sits in the corner and gets pushed around by the
others, or whether you’re more the person who encourages
everyone to get along or whether you’re the person who
bosses everyone around. [INAUDIBLE]. And we look at that when
you go through the selection process. And we’re already picking those
people that have got those basic leadership skills. So you probably don’t need to
build them anymore than you’ve got by the time you get their
our section board. Obviously you want to build
them to get to the section board, but as Sarah mentioned,
those ways that she mentioned, sports and the like, are a very
good way of doing it. Once you get to Duntroon, we get
your leadership skills and then we refine them to how
we want you to lead the military lifestyle. Next question comes
from Casey. She asks, Captain Robinson,
have you felt any negative effects from the Army
being a mostly male-dominant workplace? So joining ADFA and then,
obviously, subsequently RMC, it is an equitable environment
in which there’s a number of diverse characters which are
there, so male and female, and also cadets from international
militaries. So throughout your training it
is definitely an equitable environment, because what you
achieve is up to you, because it’s all based on merit. So your actual performance. And it’s not gender based
or nationality based. Past RMC, again, graduating
to the role of [INAUDIBLE] transport, there are males and
females, obviously, still being a male dominated
environment. However, as you go through
promotion, and also the next job that you get is very much
based on merit, and also that current situation you’re in your
time, and also what you also want to get out
of the military. As you’re probably aware, Casey,
in recent times all corps have been opened
up to females in the Army, which is fantastic. And if you want to join all you
require is the skills and the aptitude to do that
particular corp. Male or female there are standards. And the standards have
maintained the same and will do so in the future. Next question comes from John. What is the intensity of the
Royal Military College like? So the tempo of RMC, as we
previously discussed, is quite high, I guess, throughout
the 18 months. And that’s why they’re provided
the leave periods in December and June and also
mid semester as well. You can expect a study of an
evening, most evenings, in preparing for syndicate lessons
for the next day. The way that the teaching occurs
is that they provide you a general lecture first then
go into a syndicate room. Generally what will then follow
from there will be a test of some sort or
an assessment. So in regards to that, the
process is continual. And you’re also learning
more than one particular thing at a time. So you might be learning
defensive operations, but you also might be doing some
leadership package work or also some administrative
package at work. So at any one time you can
be doing assessments from different ones and continuing
on with that. So it is very high intensive,
but as I said, that’s why we have the scheduled leave periods
so you can rest and recuperate and then also
prepare for the next training period. Yeah, for sure. Is the training similar to
what the movies portray, getting yelled at
the whole time? Damien, it’s not. Unless you really do
something wrong. There’s not too much
yelling at all. A lot of yelling occurs,
actually, out in exercise, but it’s just to communicate over
when you’re firing with blank fire weapons and everyone’s
running around the place, sometimes initially
like [INAUDIBLE] with their head cut off, but
then eventually it starts calming down and becomes
quite controlled. So there’s little actual
screaming at you. And, in fact, I know my own
instructional style that I like is I kind of play the
disappointed dad routine with the cadets. I seem to find that people
listen better when you tell them what they want as opposed
to when you yell. Like The Simpsons episode, where
everyone kind of just switches off and hears
blah, blah, blah. So each instructor has
got their own style. Some people’s role in the
college, for instance, the [INAUDIBLE], I’ll get you
to talk on, Sarah, can be a lot noisier. But in general, the instructors
that look after you, in third class, are mainly
Sergeants, and second and first class are mainly
warrant officers and captains. They’re more there to try
and teach you stuff. And as long as you’re staying on
the right side of good and not doing the wrong thing,
you don’t get yelled at much at all. It’s never yelling for
the sake of yelling. So Alex asked, what factors are
considered when deciding what corp each graduate
is allocated to? Well Alex, I’ll start with the
easy part of that, and I’ll let Sarah take the hard part. The most important factor
of that is what corps you want to go to. So you get to put your
preferences in. So the whole way through, as
we talked about before, you get given briefs on what various
crops have to offer, where their posted
locations are. What career paths they
have inside them. And you get to put down your
preferences, one to four. And most cadets usually end up
with, if not their first, their second preference. So you are the biggest
consideration on what corps you want to go to. The people who end up getting
closer to the corp that they really want as opposed to ones
who do, are people who have a really realistic expectation
of how they’re performing. So whether they think they’re
the gun cadet going for the very elitist corps, or whether
they realise, I’m only performing average, so there’s
no point putting down that really hard to get into crop,
which can be very different based on the class
dynamics as well. So self awareness this is
a big one for that. As well as, you might find when
you join the Army you want to go into an infantry, but
found it really hard for your body to maintain, carrying
a pack the large distances, so you decided you
wanted to go to a corp that doesn’t have to carry
its pack as much. And so you change your
preferences. But I’ll let Sarah go through
the actual process that then occurs, in the grading. Thanks, Nick. So, very much, you put in four
preferences in which you’ll be counselled all through your time
at RMC, of what you want. And from there we go and the
number of people sit on a board of studies. And we identify every cadet. And we identify how well they’ve
done in a number of different areas of RMC, not just
the field exercise, but also within the barracks and
leadership assessment. So we’ll identify where you are
what we call the order of merit list. And from there we’ll start
allocating people against their first, second, third,
or fourth core preference. But we also try and do is also
try and get a talent spread across the corps. So what we want to identify
is that, yes, you’re top performing. However, in every corp we want
it to succeed so talent spread is another consideration
as well. Other considerations, at times
family commitments. If you have compassionate
reasons. Which are just things that are
also considered during your additional postings or so your
subsequent postings as you grow throughout your
military life. Family is definitely a
consideration as part of that. Next questions is from Allen. How do you think your RMC
training will benefit you in the civilian world when
you decide to leave? Well Allen, to specifically talk
about the RMC training, it’s the ability to learn to
command people, to manage people, and to lead people. The administrative time that
you’re required to undertake a task as well as the practical
timing, the understanding of that, and the processes that
are taught at RMC, you can apply to almost any
aspect of life. Because, as you know if you’ve
ever done anything like a planning a party or planning a
wedding or just doing a basic job, you’ve got all those
same aspects [INAUDIBLE] understand what you’ve got,
what’s up against you, how much it’s going to cost. What your budget is. What your time is. We do exactly the same planning
in military, just, obviously, it’s a lot
more war-focused. OK, thank you for joining us. We’ve had some really good
questions tonight and hope that it’s provided you with
information that your require.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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