The Patrol Leaders Training Unit (or PLTU) is a 9 day course run at various venues around South Africa. PLTU is a very physically and mentally strenuous course, open to Scouts who are over 14½ years old and have achieved their Adventurer advancement badge.

The first of what was to become the Patrol Leader training Unit courses was run at Lexden — Natal Gilwell Scout Training Camp in July 1959, under the leadership of Dudley Forde, with 19 Scouts from the 2nd Durban Y.M.C.A. Scout Group in attendance. Courses were offered to boys from the same Group over the next five years until the 6th Course in October 1964 which was opened to participants from South Durban District.
In October 1967 the Patrol Leader Training Unit was formed to offer formal Leadership Training courses for Scout Patrol Leaders in the then Natal Division. The nine members comprising the original Unit were; Dudley Forde [Chairman], Fr Ian Laurenson, Lynn Reynolds, Paddy McDowell, Paul and Helen Bezencon, Ian Hoare, Tony Hornby and Bill Sewell. The KwaZulu-Natal Area Patrol Leader training Unit celebrated the holding of its 100th course in July 2004. Dudley Forde, Fr Ian Laurenson, James Radford, Bryan Dibben, Craig Shaw, Grant Martens and Guy Caws have led the fortunes of the Unit over its first 45 years.

The Aims and Objectives

The Aim and Objectives of PLTU focus the efforts of the course on character development in each individual, including the development of physical, mental and spiritual qualities. The course participants and staff are selected from the broad spectrum of the community.
Every effort is made to ensure that the composition of each course reflects the composition of Scout Troops in the Area. An important criterion in the selection of candidates, is their potential to be able to take back the training and the values, and pass these on to their fellow Scouts in their home Troops.
The grouping of participants into five Patrols aims to achieve the most diverse representation possible in each Patrol. The intense course programme uses the Patrol System exclusively, providing a unique opportunity for each participant to work with and better understand their fellow South Africans from the broad spectrum of our community. The success of this "bridge-building" on past courses has been applaudable, in going a long way towards breaking down barriers and prejudices.

The PLTU Programme

The course is made up of an intensive 9-day programme, which provides training in all aspects of leadership, for 40 Scouts (aged 14 to 17). It is unique from other youth training courses, in its comprehensive content, which includes:
Leadership Theory
using John Adair's model of Functional Leadership, leadership styles, etc.
Leadership skills
Planning, Organization, Communication, Inter-personal skills
Personal skills
Life skills (egg Presentation skills), Technical skills, and a spiritual dimension
Human Relations skills
Bridge-building across all communities, Group dynamics, motivation and teamwork
Meaningful challenge
mental and physical, personal and group
Values and attitudes
a crucial part in the training of leaders
All theory is followed up by practical application and exercises which reinforce the theory. The pace of the course is intense.

The Patrol System

The course is run on the Patrol System throughout, with each Patrol made up of 8 Scouts. Each Patrol is assigned a fulltime adult Tutor, and a Patrol Quartermaster, for the duration of the course. The course staff is made up of adult Scouters, and Scouts who have already completed the course. Scout staff are all under the age of 18 years, and are used in the roles of Troop Leader, Quartermasters and Patrol Quartermasters. The remaining positions are filled by adults. All staff are kept extremely busy throughout the course.

On the successful completion of a PLTU course a Scout is entitled to wear a PLTU woggle (which is made by the Scout while on the course) and to wear a special PLTU badge on their uniform. Many Troops also require a Scout to complete a PLTU course before allowing them to become a Patrol Leader.
Click here to download PLTU application form