TSR Wiki > Careers > Career Options > Armed Forces Careers > The Royal Air Force > IOT

IOT stands for Initial Officer Training. It is conducted at RAF College Cranwell and must be completed by anyone wishing to serve as an Officer in the Royal Air Force. This is a course in leadership that you will go onto if you pass OASC.


How long is it?

Currently the IOT course is 32 weeks long. This is split into three 10-week terms with a week's leave in between each term.

What do I do there?

IOT is divided into three main phases with a review after each.

Basic Phase: Largely physical training, ground defence training, English Language study and drill

Foundation Phase: Academic study. Major areas of study are oral communications, leadership and management training and field leadership camp.

Applications Phase: completion of academic studies and exams. Station visit, adventure training, station management simulator, and leadership exercise PEACEKEEPER.

How often are there IOTs?

November, February, May, August, and October

What is the new IOT?

The Officer Cadet Training Review (OCTR) Team, established in Apr 03, delivered their Report to AOC TG outlining the optimum training solution for Initial Officer Training (IOT), together with recommendations for taking forward through-life officer development. AOC TG endorsed the Report and a new IOT Course (IOTC) based on 3 terms of 10 weeks core training, with one week’s leave at the end of each of the first 2 terms, is to be introduced on 21 Nov 05. The final term will include the 2-week Basic Air Warfare Course.

The OCTR determined that tomorrow’s officer will need to be military minded and of a courageous and determined fighting spirit, mentally agile and physically robust, politically and globally astute, technologically competent, capable of understanding and managing inter-personal relations, flexible, adaptable and responsive, willing to take risks and able to handle ambiguity. It was considered that there were many good features in the current IOTC that produced officers who were proud of their achievements during the course, were well motivated towards their specialist training and had a high degree of teamwork and camaraderie. However, the research highlighted that the leadership style developed was predominantly control based, that the course had a strong assessment culture, a lack of standardisation in some areas, and that many graduates had an inability to relate to other ranks in general and SNCOs and WOs in particular. Furthermore, there was minimal use of IT and a lack of realism in some aspects of the training. At the time of producing the Report, it was evident that the current OACTU staffs had also noted many of the deficiencies and significant progress had been made in addressing the issues, albeit within the constraints of the current over pressurised course programme.

The new IOTC will result in an entry of up to 120 cadets every 11 weeks, providing an annual throughput of up to 540 cadets per year. Recommendation for graduation will be made at the end of the second term to enable the final term to be transformational in nature, thus allowing individuals to make the transition from officer cadet to Junior Officer (JO). The new course will also incorporate a revision of the organisational development (OD) of OACTU. The flight system that has traditionally had a JO flt cdr responsible for 8-10 cadets will change. Specifically, the flt cdr, supported by a FS deputy flt cdr, will now have responsibility for up to 30 cadets. Additionally, specialist training teams will be established, including a team responsible for leadership; instructors from this team will join individual flts for large elements of the IOTC, thereby ensuring that the 1:10 ratio that is so important for experiential training is retained. The revised OD will help decouple training and assessment. Moreover, an enhanced and integrated academic department will be formed enabling each flt to be allocated a tutor. The new department will incorporate an Academic Defence Studies Department comprising academics affiliated to an accredited university.

The concept of empowered leadership based on the principle of mission command will be introduced to balance the action centred leadership currently taught. The practical exercises will be designed on deployed operations scenarios with maximum involvement of the wider RAF and MOBs in particular. All aspects of physical education within the new IOTC will be redesigned as part of the integrated course design process being conducted by newly formed multi disciplinary teams. Cadets will have round the clock access to the RAF intranet and gatewayed internet in all domestic and training accommodation. Finally, the Review identified a number of concurrent initiatives affecting through-life officer development, including work linked with the RAF Leadership Centre, the Air Warfare Centre, the RAF Division, together with individual annual training requirements and preparation for OOA deployments. The Report recommended an urgent requirement to review the content and sequencing of non-specialist training and Command and Staff Training.

Following the endorsement of the OCTR report the Course Design and Implementation Team (CDIT) was established on 1 Nov 04. CDIT is empowered to take the vision forward and produce the new IOTC. This briefing note has been produced to provide information and an overview for recruits to the new course. It will also enable the recruiters to accurately brief potential recruits upon the proposed changes. It is worth noting that whilst general information has been included, specific course detail has been omitted due to ongoing design phase of the CDIT’s workstreams.

IOT in Detail

Initial Officer Training is made up of three terms, each lasting 10 weeks. At the end of each term your performance will be reviewed and you’ll be given feedback, as well as advice for the next stage.

Term One

Weeks 1 – 4 Basic phase You’ll master the basic military skills required by all RAF personnel. Fitness will become part of your daily routine and there will be regular inspections of your dress and living quarters. In addition, you’ll learn about how the RAF carries out its national defence role and works with other organisations all over the world.

Weeks 5 – 10 Leadership development As well as learning about different techniques, you’ll take part in leadership exercises – in the classroom at first and later in the field. You’ll fire your weapon for the first time and will have the opportunity to spend a week at one of our adventurous training centres.

Term Two

Week 1 Foundation phase Learning how to gain the trust of people you will lead takes practice, so the first week of Term Two will be spent consolidating the leadership skills you learnt during Term One.

Week 2 Military aid leadership camp You’ll spend up to seven days in a military training area completing a series of time-sensitive exercises in full military gear. Using your new skills you’ll guide your team through a variety of challenges.

Weeks 3 – 6 RAF ethos and culture/Air power studies As well as learning about the RAF’s ethos, culture and history, you’ll learn more about how we expect our officers to present themselves and communicate with others. Finally, you’ll receive lectures from university academics about the concept and strategies behind Air Power, which you’ll be tested on later.

Weeks 7 – 8 Military simulation A simulated military operation will give you the opportunity to demonstrate all the skills you’ve learnt so far. We’ll create a high-pressure operational environment that’s as close to the real thing as possible. By the end of it you’ll be ready to form an essential part of a powerful military team.

Weeks 9 – 10 Recommendation to progress to the final term If you excel during the simulated exercises, you’ll be congratulated by your Flight Commander and recommended to progress to the final term. If you found the exercises too demanding, don’t worry, you’ll be re-coursed for further training and have another chance to prove yourself.

Term Three

Weeks 1 – 5 Leadership academics/Carousel You’ll start Term Three with a week of academic study – learning about what might be expected of you on your first posting. Following this you’ll have four weeks of training exercises that will put your leadership skills to the test in various operational settings. One of these will take place at our adventurous training centre in Scotland.

Weeks 6 – 8 Military simulation (Exercise Combat Operations Centre) Your second simulated exercise will be based around a combat operations centre, enabling you to gain more experience of life in an operational environment. By now, much of what you do will come naturally, so it’s a great chance to refine your leadership skills.

Weeks 9 – 10 Graduation After 30 weeks of training you’ll be ready for your graduation parade. It’s one of the proudest moments in any officer’s career, as well as a great day out for your family and friends. You’ll show off your new skills on the parade ground and receive your official commission as an officer in the RAF.

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