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Mātauranga me te whakangungu

It takes a lot of skills and training to do the things our Army does. From medical to engineering, navigation to combat, cooking for hundreds to leading soldiers into combat, the range of trades in the Army is diverse.

We need our people to be highly trained in what they do, because they may have to do their job in adverse conditions, at a moment’s notice. At these times, we need experts. We need our people to excel and to be the best they can be.

Our people have to handle some of the most advanced technologies in the world. They are provided with the training, education, tools, and equipment necessary to become fully effective in their field.

At the beginning, training starts with getting to grips with Army culture and becoming familiar with listening to details, following instructions, and learning how to work as a team.

Each year we run several Basic Training Regular Recruit Force (RRF) courses. These courses are 17 weeks long. We also run a year long officer training course. 

During initial training, recruits get used to working quickly as a team, and with urgency, in order to complete tasks. They learn basic skills like weapon handling, first aid and drill. This is all part of developing an ability to perform tasks in the most inhospitable environments, under the direction of a leader, and in a team with people they can rely on.

After basic training, personnel move on to become an expert in their chosen field. They undertake specialised training on courses, as well as on the job and through sponsored tertiary study. Sponsored part-time study or full-time study is available as well.

The way that we train our personnel has benefits outside the Army too. The qualifications our people achieve, plus the life and employment skills they gain, are highly sought after in the civilian world. And the skills, character and resilience that they develop in the Army will also be valuable to the private and public sectors.

Basic training and officer training provides the initial skills, knowledge and culture that comes with being in the Army. But each of our soldiers and officers has a specific job to do within their unit. With more than 40 trades for soldiers and eight trades for officers, the Army offers one of the highest choices of career options and ongoing training of any New Zealand employer.

Our people are part of an organisation that requires an enormous variety of specialists to function. The days of unskilled labour and limited skillsets are long gone. When our people are upskilled within their trade, they are provided with high quality training and education.

New members of our Army choose a particular trade prior to starting their career, and that trade will require professional development. Trade training is predominantly done within our Army, but it may also involve study outside of the military. Army trades and careers utilise a wide variety of tertiary education paths spanning across university, technology institutions and trade training.

When our people up-skill within their trade, they are provided a high standard of education. Today, much of the trade training in the military has achieved parity with civilian qualifications, meaning that the training our people complete will earn them the equivalent qualification for civilian life. In some instances, such as the chef and building trades, the qualification undertaken as part of trade training is the civilian industry qualification.

All full-time Army personnel can further upskill using the Voluntary Education Study Assistance programme, which provides financial assistance to undertake part-time study towards a Level 4 or higher qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

At its most basic level, leadership is about behaviour. It's about the building of effective relationships to influence the actions of other people, enabling them to contribute to the success of the Army in a professional and ethical manner.

People might think that military leadership is clear-cut. But in fact leadership is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ in the military. There is no single approach or leadership style that fits the New Zealand Army. Unlike a business leader, our leaders work in a military context, where circumstances can quickly change.

There are physical risks, moral challenges and psychological pressures. It means our leaders need to constantly assess the situation and environment, so that they can adjust their behaviour appropriately.

From the beginning, everyone in the Army accepts that they have a responsibility to support their own development. This is known as ‘Lead Self’ in the NZDF Leadership Development system. The system progresses through Lead Teams, Lead Leaders, Lead Systems, Lead Capability, Lead Integrated Capability and Lead Organisation. This system supports the progression and transitioning of our leaders.

As our people's careers progress, they are immersed in the philosophy of every person in the Army being a leader, and that leadership development is shared across the organisation. 

Our leadership development is strongly aligned with workplace experiences. Formal education, training and courses all contribute to leadership, and so does coaching, but the development of leaders within the workplace is a strongly-embedded culture within our Army. Our leaders are stretched and exposed to novel situations. New experiences are a fact of life in the Army, due to the required posting cycle and rotation of military personnel.

Our leaders never stop learning and are constantly developing skills on the job. It's part of our culture that our leaders develop other leaders because as people progress and change roles, or are promoted, we need to have leaders following in their footsteps.

Being ready to share skills with the next generation of military people, or utilising skills and knowledge to manage the organisation strategically, is part of career progression in the New Zealand Army.

As our people progress in their career, the experience gained in both their trade and their leadership will naturally lend itself to roles as an instructor and in management.

The New Zealand Defence College (NZDC) and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) provide the framework for the learning strategy and policy across the NZDF and Army respectively. This ensures that our instructors and learning managers are aligned with the Defence Force and Army education systems. Our people hold roles instructing in a wide variety of fields, such as at the recruit training in Waiouru, the communications training in Linton and logistics trade training in Trentham. 

The Army is constantly upgrading to keep up with technology, and adapting to international developments. Personnel, as they grow in their careers and achieve seniority, can become managers of teams and projects, using their skills, knowledge and insights to help the NZDF and Army deliver not only defence capability, but grow as a modern government organisation and employer. Personnel, both in the civilian workforce as well as military, advance their careers in management in the NZDF and Army, just like any other government department.

Considering a career in the Army?

In the Army you'll never rest on past successes. We'll push you to constantly better yourself. But you won't have to do it alone. You'll be part of a tight-knit team – people that you'll come to trust, no matter what. Whatever your role, you'll be given the best possible training, equipment and encouragement. Everything you need, in fact, to create a successful and valued career.

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