A Day in the Life of an Exercise Director
17 Feb 17
17 Feb 17
• Briefing the mission to the staff and augmentees
• Liaising with the technicians and the augmentees about any limitations we would like to impose during the mission
• Monitoring the performance of the training audience during the exercise and then leading the critical after-action-review
• Providing wisdom and direction where required
• Wrapping up the exercise with the staff and technicians to make sure that the equipment worked as it should and that the information given to the staff allowed them to deliver the exercise as briefed.
The first time I carried out these tasks as a newly qualified Exercise Director was extremely daunting; and I definitely felt exposed!
“A Day In the Life of an Exercise Director” currently looks something like the following.
It all starts the day before, as I get all “spammed up” on the particular scenario I am about to conduct. On the day, feeling as ready as I will ever be, I have to stand up in front of staff and augmentees and brief them, in an attempt to make them see what’s inside my head as to what I want them to do, when I want them to do and how they are to go about it, putting all the notes in the right order so that an amazing concerto is played instead of the tuneless pandemonium that can sometimes ensue.
Now, we have the trainees in place; we have the orchestra in place; up comes the baton and away we go! This is usually swiftly followed by people shouting at each other about what they are doing, which we bring firmly under control.
Whilst the exercise is taking place, I attempt to pull together all the good and bad things that happen during 3 hours of exercise, so that the debrief of the mission can be used as a training tool. The debrief is after all a learning opportunity.
I eventually call an end to the exercise proceedings. The Exercise Delivery team adjourn to the briefing room to make sense of what has just happened to our concerto and place all the information we have gathered into a comprehensive commentary of performance to be delivered to, at times, an unresponsive audience. Luckily being ex-Army, the same as the training audience, I speak their language and can usually get them to take part. They get to hear the bad parts, boo, and they get to hear some good parts, ya! Overall I attempt to show them how to reflect on what they have done and to try different things. I try to make them realise that in battle, as so much in life, there are no right or wrong answers, only success or failure. Therefore we do not teach the audience how “we” would do it, but the differing ways it can be done.
My aim – and the aim of everyone on the Exercise Delivery team – is to ensure our audience leave with more knowledge than they came with, better communication than they had and a much better understanding of what a working team can look and feel like.
Thanks to the experience, skill and professionalism of the ABTC staff; nil solo exposure; job done; baton down; time for a cuppa and an obligatory ABTC doughnut.
To find out more about the work of our team at the ABTC, visit our Synthetic Training and Simulation page.
Our image shows Paul 'Burt' Reynolds in his role as an Attack Helicopter Subject Matter Expert
Phil joins us as a principal training consultant having spent 20 years as a training specialist in the MOD.
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