faqS ABOUT THE ASSESSMENT CENTRES AND STARTING YOUR TRAINING
The Assessment Centre
Will I still be able to attend assessment?
Currently both soldier and officer applicants are able to attend an Army assessment, regardless of where they live. However this may change at short notice if government advice on travel changes. Your Candidate Support Manager / Recruiter will be able to give you the most up to date information.
Please take a lateral flow test 24 hours before you're due to attend. You will be required to take a further LFT when you arrive at the assessment centre.
If you are an officer candidate, you will still be able to attend the Army Officer Selection Board in Westbury. If you require it an overnight stay can be accommodated in single person rooms.
How long is the Assessment?
As Covid restrictions ease, we are reintroducing the two day assessments. Your Candidate Support Manager / Recruiter will give you more details when you are booked on to your event.
Will there be extra measures in place at the Assessment Centre to ensure that the COVID 19 virus does not spread?
We have had to change our procedures at all Assessment Centres to guard against the spread of the COVID19 virus to ensure they are COVID secure. This will protect you and the Centre Staff:
- Medical Staff will be wearing protective clothing.
- Staff and Candidates will need to follow the Government social distancing guidance.
- Follow Government advice on the way to the Assessment Centre; Hands (ensure you wash your hands regularly) Face (face covering on public transport) and Space (ensure you maintain social distancing).
What if my circumstances have changed since I was initially given a date to attend Selection at Assessment Centre?
If you've had any changes to your personal circumstances, please contact your Recruiter or Candidate Support Manager who will be able to update your details.
What happens and what do I do should I start to get symptoms of COVID19 whilst I am at the Assessment Centre? Can I travel home via public transport if I did not come in a private vehicle? Will I be able to return to a future Selection event once I am better?
You should report feeling unwell straightaway to a member of staff. At which point, if you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, we will isolate you in the Assessment Centre and then get you home as soon as is practical, ensuring that Public Health guidance is adhered to. If you travelled on public transport, you will not be able to use this method as this will place others around you at risk and is against Public Health guidance. You may return as soon as you are fully recovered which is currently assessed as being between 6-8 weeks. You will not be tested at the Assessment Centre for COVID-19.
I have a date to attend Assessment Centre, but someone in my household has COVID19 symptoms and/or is self-isolating. Can I still attend my Assessment Centre date?
If anyone in your household has COVID19 symptoms or is isolating after being in contact with someone who may have symptoms, call your Candidate Support Manager. You will need to rebook for a later date. We will check this detail before you start your journey with you to ensure that you do not travel when you should be isolating. Our staff will be following the same rules.
Has the fitness test at AC changed?
No – the fitness test is still composed of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (bleep test), medicine ball throw and mid-thigh pull. The MSFT is still being used instead of a 2km run to allow us to operate safely under COVID restrictions. The standards for non-Ground Close Combat roles have been reviewed, and new standards came in from January. We have updated all our information about fitness tests to reflect this change.
Starting your training
I have been given a start date for training, what if I'm having to isolate and will miss my training start date?
You will receive an electronic health questionnaire which asks specific questions in relation to this and will provide the required advice, depending on the answers you give to the questions. Regardless of vaccination status, if, you, or someone else in your household develops symptoms and tests positive for COVID, your training start will be delayed. You should speak with your recruiter who will be able to advise you on a revised start date.
What will happen when I start training?
On arrival, you will be asked again to confirm you have no signs and symptoms of the virus. When you start training you will be shown how to correctly conduct a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Test by your training teams. You will then start a three-times a week self-test regime to pick up asymptomatic carriers and prevent the spread of the virus. Testing frequency will be reviewed at the end of Jan 22. You will also be expected to carry out social distancing (1m+) and mix predominantly with your immediate section/platoon. Your training team staff will advise when you can mix with those in other training sections/platoons or households.
Will I be able to leave camp?
Due to the sharp increase in COVID cases during the last week, all recruits starting or returning to training will undergo a period of ‘Controlled Monitoring’.
'Controlled Monitoring' means that you will not mix with recruits from other ‘households' and your training staff will always maintain 2m Social Distancing. The LFD test has limited accuracy so even if you receive a negative result, you should not assume that you are COVID negative. To prevent the spread of the virus you should continue to maintain Social Distancing and Force Health Protection measures as much as you can.
These extra Force Health Protection measures will be reviewed regularly to ensure that as soon as the conditions allow, we are able to relax the measures and ensure freedoms are provided whilst balanced with the risk and the safety of recruits, staff and the public.
After the first 2-weeks, in your free time and when the programme allows, you will be able to access the facilities in the local area if you are conducting regular testing and you and no one in your household tests positive. It is important to remember that COVID cases are still prevalent in society so the risk of COVID has not gone. Testing does not completely remove the risk of you contracting the virus, therefore, it is important that you continue to maintain regular hand washing and social distancing where able to do so.
Will I be able to return home for leave?
Yes, with regular testing in place you will be able to return home for leave and weekend stand downs. To ensure a safe return to training after leave periods, you will be asked to complete an LFD test and the electronic health questionnaire 48hrs before you return to the workplace and continue regular testing whilst you are on leave. On arrival you will be asked to confirm that you have no symptoms of the virus.
How will training be different?
Various measures have been put in place to ensure the risk of any transmission to you is as low as possible. For example, you will be required to wash your hands more often, social distancing will be in place wherever possible, if you need to see the Doctor you will first be required to provide details of your symptoms electronically. All changes have been put in place to protect you as much as possible.
Will I still have a passing out parade? Can my friends and family still attend?
We are now planning for guests to return to pass out parades, so at this stage it is likely that you will be able to invite your friends and family to celebrate your special day with you. COVID outbreaks are continuing to be actively monitored and if a live outbreak is occurring at the time of your pass out parade, or if the national COVID picture is assessed to be deteriorating, you may find that the number of guests that you can invite will be limited or that the parade will need to go ahead with no guests. If the Pass out Parade does not go ahead, or attendance of families is not permitted, the parade will be likely to be live streamed.
If I am going to be offered the vaccinations that I need in training, why do I need to get vaccinated prior to arrival in training?
The sooner that you receive your vaccinations the sooner you will protect yourself and keep friends and family safe. The more of us who are vaccinated, the safer we all are, and the sooner a return to pre-pandemic norms will be possible.
Receiving a vaccination prior to arrival in training will provide you more protection sooner. In addition, the side effects of the vaccine, however small, are likely to make you feel sub-par which may prevent you giving 100% to your training for a few days. Due to the large numbers of personnel in Basic Training, the risk of COVID spreading is much greater than if you were at home. A COVID outbreak in the training environment impacts on the ability to conduct the training programme not only for you, but also other recruits, so every measure we can take to prevent this should be implemented. Since recruits have been vaccinated, the number of COVID cases we have seen has decreased significantly. Therefore, if you are eligible for the vaccine and wish to have it, you should obtain it before arrival to protect you, others and your training.
If you are over-18 and it has been 3-months plus since you received your second COVID vaccination, it is important that you act and book your COVID booster vaccination. With Omicron now in community transmission, evidence suggests that only after a COVID booster are you up to 75% protected against symptomatic COVID. Protection against severe illness once you receive your booster will be even greater.
This applies equally to second vaccination and boosters.
To book your COVID vaccinations and booster visit: Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination
Will I be forced to receive a vaccination when offered?
No, you will not be forced to have the vaccine. You will only receive the vaccine if you agree to it. However, it is strongly recommended that you take the vaccine. It is proven to be effective in not only preventing you from catching COVID, but also to protect those around you. Some people will not be able to have the vaccine and to protect those vulnerable members of society it is important that those who are able to be vaccinated accept the vaccine.
If you have any concerns about the vaccine, it is important that you speak to the medical team at the training site who will be able to answers any questions or address any concerns you may have. The conversation you have with them will remain confidential and they will ensure you have all the information to make an informed decision.
I have recently received my COVID vaccine, can I still start training, or do I need to wait to start?
Regardless of when you received your vaccine, you can still start training. However, if you have received a COVID vaccine within the last 72 hours you must notify your training team as there may be some planned physical activity you cannot do until 72 hours has passed. You will be asked a question to confirm when you received your last vaccine when you start training.
I am not 18 yet, will I need my parent or guardian's consent to receive my vaccination?
You will not need consent from a parent or guardian to receive your vaccination. Your parent or guardian will be able to book an appointment on your behalf, but you must provide consent.
At what point will I be classified as fully vaccinated?
Currently, you are classified as fully vaccinated two weeks after you have had your second COVID vaccination. Whilst England does not require those under 18 years and 6 months who are not fully vaccinated to isolate as a close contact, within the training environment, you would have to isolate as a close contact. This is because of our high-density environment, which means we have additional measures in place to ensure COVID transmission opportunities are as low as reasonably practicable. An outbreak in the training environment can be detrimental to training.
The definition of what classifies as 'fully vaccinated' is likely to change in the future, noting that booster vaccines are now available to everyone over the age of 18.
What will my accommodation be like in Basic Training due to COVID?
If you are in shared accommodation, this will become known as your household. Your household will be required to maintain Social Distancing between other households to ensure the risk of any COVID transmission is kept to as low as possible.
Will we be able to conduct Adventurous Training and go on the Realities of War visits?
Yes, your course will be delivered in full. However, if you have decided not to have the COVID vaccination, any planned overseas travel may not be possible if the country you are visiting has mandated a vaccination passport. HM forces do not have any exemptions to this.
Army Reserve training
What will happen if I test positive whilst I am attending my Army Reserve training?
If you are required to isolate, you will be paid throughout the isolation period or until the end of the course – whichever is later. If you test positive for COVID, you will be required to remain on-site for the full 10-day isolation period even if this period continues beyond the scheduled end date of the course. Isolation facilities will be provided on camp. Movement home should only be by exception and a risk assessment will have to be completed by the training team in conjunction with the Army’s Environmental Health Team to understand the risk of you leaving camp. Depending on where you are returning home to, the local Health Protection Team may not be content for you to travel home. If you are from a Devolved Administration, their direction must be followed. If you leave camp, this will mean you have withdrawn from the course.
What do I need to do if I am identified as a Close Contact of someone who has tested positive?
If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive and are fully vaccinated, you will be required to isolation and receive a PCR test, if you are in the middle of your training. If the test is negative, you will be able to return to training. If you are not vaccinated, then you will not be able to continue training. The need to isolate as a close contact once you depart training will depend on your age, vaccination status and the area where you are returning to. If you are not vaccinated and wish to return home, then the direction applicable to your home area must be followed, noting each area’s rules are slightly different.
If I have to isolate, either due to contracting COVID during training, or as a close contact, will I continue to be paid?
If you are required to isolate at the Army Reserve training unit either due to contracting COVID, or as a close contact, you will continue to be paid for the duration of your isolation even if this goes beyond your planned course dates.
Will I be able to continue training with my Section (household) if I have to isolate?
Training can continue online if you test positive or are a close contact, but you will not be able to get out and about to train. Although it will be dependent at which point in the course that you were required to isolate, it is likely that you will be unable to complete the course in full. You will be advised on how to return to complete your training.