Flexible training benefits reservists

9th Brigade’s Reserve Accelerated Training Scheme (RATS) is being run again in 2024 after a successful pilot last year.

CAPTIONLance Corporal Winston Li of 10th/27th Battalion, the Royal South Australian Regiment, yells instructions during training at the Murray Bridge Training Area, South Australia. Story by Captain Peter March. Photos by Sergeant Peng Zhang.

The initiative provides a flexible option for part-time soldiers to undertake full-time contracts of 3-12 months for service similar to a ‘Gap Year’.

In 2023, 10th/27th Battalion, Royal South Australia Regiment (10/27RSAR), successfully provided 37 soldiers with the experience of being members of a full-time platoon inside a combat brigade.

Private Lachlan McCulloch commenced his full-time contract under the RATS as a recruit.

After attending Kapooka in January 2023, he went on to complete his initial employment training, and was fully qualified in time to be able to deploy with the platoon to Indonesia on Exercise Super Garuda Shield in August 2023.

“The RATS has given me unparalleled experience,” Private McCulloch said.

“The training and community has been excellent.

“It has inspired me to make a career out of what I thought was just a job.”

RATS allowed participants to accelerate individual training and complete a number of corps qualifications, combat behaviour training and promotion courses, along with specialist qualifications including protected mobility vehicle driver and direct fire support weapons.

CAPTIONA soldier from 10th/27th Battalion, the Royal South Australian Regiment, throws a smoke grenade during a training activity at the Murray Bridge Training Area.

The enhanced training and readiness capability of the platoon enabled its soldiers to contribute to high-end collective training and security cooperation activities, including participating on Exercise Super Garuda Shield 23 and the combined-arms platoon live-fire on Exercise Rhino Run 23.

Additionally, the soldiers provided a high-readiness force element for domestic response contingencies.

Commanding Officer 10/27RSAR Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Jackson said the initiative provided greater flexibility for part-time soldiers to complete training on a full-time contract in order to deliver capability faster.

“The Reserve Accelerated Training Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for Australians interested in serving their community to get a taste of the rewarding careers available in the ADF,” Lieutenant Colonel Jackson said.

“Participants gain valuable skills in leadership, working in teams, as well as developing professionally.

CAPTIONA soldier from 10th/27th Battalion, the Royal South Australia Regiment, reloads his weapon during a blank-fire activity at the Murray Bridge Training Area.

“This initiative also demonstrates the battalion’s capability and how we can be employed effectively for exercises and operations.”

One-in-five participants from the 2023 RATS program are now transferring to Service Category 7 full-time service, but many, such as Private McCulloch, will return to Service Category 5 part-time service after the completion of their contract.

“We look forward to another successful year of the program in 2024,” Lieutenant Colonel Jackson said.


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