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TRAINEES on the Junior Leader
Course have a lot to learn in eight
weeks and the Warrant Officer
and Non-Commissioned Officer
Academy is changing the skills
focus to develop strong leaders as
the main priority.
The CO of the academy's north
Queensland wing, Lt-Col Tony Duus,
said trainees needed to master four key
skills during the course:
How to solve problems.
How to convey intent.
How to lead.
How to learn from an experience.
"These skills are now taught in the
first week so they are foremost in the
soldiers' minds and available for them
to be practised throughout the remain-
ing seven weeks," Lt-Col Duus said.
"The skills are taught in the class-
room and then in the field. At the end
of the first week there is a three-day
activity, Exercise Kokoda, designed to
put soldiers under physical and men-
tal stress while executing a series of
Learning during the course goes
beyond skills and techniques, with the
trainees picking up personal lessons to
develop their leadership qualities.
"Ex Kokoda demonstrates to a sol-
dier that it is his or her own will and
character that is important," Lt-Col
"It is designed to show that will
and character are the difference
between dropping off a task or com-
"Being a better junior leader is not
about shiny new kit, non-issue boots
or new uniforms -- it is about never
giving in and leading subordinates
regardless of the situation and adver-
All trainees come to the course
as senior soldiers with proven track
records in their home units, so the
directing staff focus on mentoring and
developing the leadership qualities in
"Ex Kokoda is set, like the field
phase later, in an environment that
contains chaos, friction, uncertainty
and chance and as such constantly
requires soldiers to think on their feet,"
Lt-Col Duus said.
"The observations gathered by
staff during Ex Kokoda are used to
assess where soldiers can be mentored
to overcome weaknesses during the
"The activity also demonstrates
that training, especially small unit
team building and leadership train-
How senior soldiers become junior leaders
ing, can be conducted by anyone with
some imagination and enthusiasm."
The student of merit on the acad-
emy's first Junior Leader Course this
year, LCpl Todd Crossin, of 1RAR,
said the course was an opportunity to
learn new skills and gain an apprecia-
tion for the wider Army.
"I expected to pass the course and
improve my leadership," he said. "But
I also learnt a lot about how other units
operated and how to conduct lessons."
He said undertaking as much pre-
course study as possible was the best
way to ensure success on the course.
Fire when ready: Junior Leader Course trainee LCpl Lachlan Robinson, of 1RAR, supervises fellow trainee Pte
Jae Butler-Evans to qualify as an officer in charge of Category A ranges. Inset, Commander 3 Bde Brig Shane
Caughey congratulates LCpl Todd Crossin, of 1RAR, on being awarded student of merit in the first JLC of 2012.
Photos by Sgt Rachel Ingram
Army May 4, 2012
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