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Army Training

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 10 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in restructuring the Army's training base in the United Kingdom.

Command Paper 1595 referred to proposals to restructure the Army's training organisation and, in particular, to our intention to improve basic training for adults and young soldiers, juniors and apprentices at a reduced number of larger and more efficient establishments. The first part of the review is nearing completion, and we now need to begin detailed planning. Starting later this year, we propose to concentrate junior leader training at Bramcote, Harrogate and Winchester and all adult and young soldier training in new Army training regiments to be formed at Glencorse, Lichfield, Bassingbourne, Pirbright and Winchester. To permit these changes to take place, specialist infantry training which now takes place at divisional depots will in future be conducted at Strensall, Ouston and Crickhowell though further reorganisation may follow later. Recognising the importance of the regimental system, we will ensure that training will continue to be organised on a capbadge basis.Final decisions on the future use of the establishments concerned have still to be taken, and a number of establishments will be required for use by units of the field Army. It is too early to say what the detailed implications will be for the staff of the establishments affected. With the exception of the WRAC training centre at Guildford, we do not expect any to close as a result of this announcement. Full consultation with the trade unions will take place in the normal way before final decisions are taken.Decisions on the future rationalisation of apprentice training have not yet been taken, but from September onwards we shall introduce a one-year standard foundation course at each of the existing Army apprentice colleges in place of the current two-year course. Apprentices will then go on to complete their technical training elsewhere within the Army.Work is continuing to develop proposals for the rationalisation of other areas in specialist training and further proposals will be announced in due course.