Leadership is more than just an honours badge or a reward; for 50 young men from The Armidale School this week (20-25 February) it also involved problem solving, public speaking navigation, communication and learning how to take responsibility for others.
Held at New England University Company Depot (Army Reserve) and in the field at the property ‘Danehurst’ 10km south of Kingstown, the five-day course was run by the TAS Cadet Unit for boys who volunteered to take on leadership positions in the second oldest cadet unit in Australia. Operating concurrently, the courses – for junior leaders, senior leaders and cadet under officers (CUOs) – were conducted by seven instructors from TAS and the Australian Army and involved boys from Years 9-11.
Both the junior leaders course (for those interested in leading a section of nine cadets) and the senior course (cadets wanting to lead at platoon level as a sergeant) involved introductory and advanced levels of training in leadership, navigation, communication and team-building.
The CUOs course, for senior boys wanting appointments as platoon commanders and company commanders, revised leadership and navigation training and then focussed primarily on communications skills, including grounding in prepared and impromptu public speaking, briefing others, and emergency situation training.
Scenarios were designed to be realistic in order to test their logic, leadership and resourcefulness.
“The style of training is designed to promote and develop initiative, teamwork, responsibility and decision making skills, as well as taking them out of their comfort zones by providing them with challenges in a field environment by day and night,” the cadet unit Commanding Officer MAJ (AAC) Trevor Thatcher said.
TAS Headmaster Mr Murray Guest said while leadership was valued and celebrated at every level of education, the deliberate development of leadership skills is less common.
“What makes our cadet leadership training so special is that it is linked to real responsibility for the activities and wellbeing of others. Our cadet leaders are not figureheads but serve and take responsibility for the cadets they are placed in charge of, skills that go beyond the unit and are highly valuable in later life.”
Click on the image below to see more photos from the course.