What is the URTP

Since the conscription ended in 1992 the Reserve Force has needed leaders at the junior officer level. They should eventually develop into the senior commanders of the future. The shortage lowers SA National Defence Force (SANDF) efficiency and also hinders transformation.

A tried and proven source of leadership lies in the student bodies of universities and other tertiary institutions – as has long been recognised and successfully used in many countries. Leadership training given to potential officers is relevant both to their military and civilian lives and provides additional personal development to the part-time volunteer soldier. This training may contribute greatly to further achievement and success in the student’s chosen careers, civilian and military.

The SANDF has introduced the University Reserve Training Programme (URTP) to recruit junior leaders from the “best and the brightest” of the undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies. The URTP provides a challenging programme of military training combined with leadership and other complementary social, cultural and physical training. The goal of URTP training is to produce a fighter in wartime, a leader of strong character, with a professional attitude and prepared to serve the nation. These characteristics should develop the military leader to face the future with inspiration and motivation.

Applicants are selected by a process of interviews and tests, following the normal recruitment process in the SANDF. In accordance with a Volunteer Military Service contract in the Reserves for successful applicants, two years of successful training lead to a commission as a Second Lieutenant or Lieutenant (Ensign or Sub-Lt in the SA Navy )if the candidate already holds a degree or diploma of equal value.

University Reserve Training Programme Charter