Civilians to oversee Royal Marine training for first time in controversial move

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It comes after Capita won a £1billion, 12-year contract to deliver training services to 16 sites across the Royal Navy. The Ministry of Defence says it will transform the training regime at Royal Navy and Royal Marine shore bases. It will see a Capita-led consortium review and upgrade courses, run live on-the-ground training and use simulated technology.

However, the shake-up is said to include using algorithms to determine whether a sailor or marine has passed a promotion course. That would end the use of officers’ discretion to spot talent – the hallmark of Royal Navy promotion for 300 years.

The project will also streamline promotion courses and opportunities amid a glut of senior non-commissioned officers.

Capita is working with Raytheon UK, Elbit Systems, Fisher Training and Fujitsu to deliver specialist projects which will include a new IT system and data performance dashboards.

In addition, it will market the revamped courses to international defence markets to generate “additional revenue opp­­ortunities”.

While full details are yet to be revealed, senior sources last night said it would see civilians directing elements of recruit training at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon. 

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Last month the Sunday Express revealed that recruits would see their training extended from 32 to 36 weeks.

At Naval Command in Ports­­mouth, the fleet’s HR director has claimed the Capita contract will transform training.

Rear Admiral Phil Hally said: “This marks a major milestone. It will transform the way we train our people, unlocking more opportunities for them to fulfil their potential and get better trained people to the front line, quicker.”

However, last night one serving Lieu­­tenant Commander with knowledge of the plans said: “This initiative will damage ­training, particularly for the marines. If you want to deliver the best recruits, you select the best military instructors, not civilians.

“In my view, this is not about delivering better training; it is about saving money – and it is about time the Navy Board looked at themselves and started to balance the number of Admirals and senior officers.

He claimed: “It is a disgrace we still have more Admirals than ships; we have 15 Royal Marine Brigadiers yet only one brigade.

“Can you imagine the impact this plan will have on young recruits who suddenly face being instructed by civilians?”

Capita’s CEO Jon Lewis said: “We are delighted that the Royal Navy has selected us.

“The award is a measure of the confidence and trust the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence have in Capita’s expertise.

“It also reflects the strong relationship Capita has with the Government. We look forward to working with the consortium and the Royal Navy to transform, modernise and create better outcomes for the training service.”

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