The basic military qualification for recruits at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School now lasts eight weeks – Photo: CFLRS
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Since April 1, recruits at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) complete their Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) in eight weeks. The Commandant of the institution, Lieutenant-Colonel Chung Wong, explains that this revised and corrected training is much better adapted to the needs of future non-commissioned members and of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) needs dictated by the “Non-commissioned members general specification”.
LCol Wong says that last year, a working group spent several months designing the new training plan. “Among other things, we took into account the review regarding professional expectations for non-commissioned members and the recent report by Judge Louise Arbour, written following her external and comprehensive review of the Department of National Defence and the CAF.”
Earlier this year, the CFLRS tested its new training plan on three platoons of recruits. The Commandant explained that the results obtained by these three pilot groups showed that the new eight-week training was giving the expected results. “These three platoons, two Anglophones and one Francophone, allowed us to evaluate our new way of doing things. We were very happy to observe the benefits on the candidates.”
In order to achieve the two-week training reduction, the task force reconsidered the need for all of the training hours contained in the 10-week BMQ. “It is by cutting back on the superfluous and using different teaching methods that we have succeeded in reducing the number of weeks without affecting the quality of our training.”
For example, some hours spent on basic drill were found to be less useful because they involved drills used less frequently on CAF parades. “So we focused on the basics knowing that if our soldiers are ever called upon to perform other more advanced exercises, they will learn them at that time.”
LCol Wong said that the team responsible for reviewing the new BMQ also took into account the study of injuries to training candidates carried out by a team from Personnel Support Programs (PSP). Thus, the periods dedicated to physical conditioning have been reviewed and modified.
“Our control groups were subjected to more robust but shorter training sessions. We have also distributed them differently so that they do not follow each other. The candidates therefore had time to recover between sessions. This had a very positive impact within the three groups. “We found that there were very few injuries to candidates in these platoons.”
Training is now based on four pillars
The new QMB is now based on four fundamental pillars: professional conduct and culture, resilience, physical conditioning, as well as basic military techniques.
A new approach has been prioritized for teaching professional driving. “For example, rather than giving theoretical lectures on misconduct, we go there with a more interactive approach. The day before the course, candidates receive a presentation on the subject. The next day, there is a group discussion where each candidate is asked to talk about their experience. It’s much more efficient that way.”
Positive reinforcement is put forward more to candidates. “If they make a mistake, they don’t just have consequences. We are looking with them at how they could have done otherwise to avoid this.”
And the training of future Officers?
LCol Wong mentioned that the training of Officer Cadets and Naval Cadets will also be reviewed in the coming months. “A working group is due to start looking into the subject at the end of April. The four pillars of the QMB will be kept and a 5th will be added concerning leadership potential. However, it is still too early to know if the 12-week training will be shortened,” concludes the CFLRS Commandant.