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Review of Skills for Life Training in the Armed Forces

Inspection & Quality
Key Documents
Skills for Life Network

A summary of the main findings from the recent ALI inspection of initial training in the armed forces

In 2004 the Minister of State for the armed forces commissioned the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) to conduct an independent and searching review of training in the armed forces. A team of 10 full time Inspectors (including a Skills for Life specialist) and 13 Associate Inspectors interviewed 4,500 recruits and 2000 staff. 450 questionnaires were completed and analysed. The two main inspection themes were:

  • the impact of initial training and arrangements for care and welfare for recruits and their families
  • the adequacy of the organisation of initial training and welfare for recruits and their families

and the key question was:

  • Is training in the armed forces structured in a way that promotes learning from experience, the sharing of good practice and continuous improvement?

The Inspection report concludes that the answer to the key question is ‘no’, and that the main issues in relation to Skills for Life training in the armed forces are around the adequacy of the training offer and the skills levels of recruits:

‘More specialised training is needed in, for example, assessment and remedial teaching of skills related to reading, writing, arithmetic and the use of English…’

‘As in the world of work generally, the armed forces have a place for fewer and fewer recruits without good literacy and numeracy and without the capacity to master advanced skills. Recruits who meet these requirements and are willing to enter the army, in particular, are hard to find…’

To read the report and the recommendations in full, go to www.ali.gov.uk

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