Patrol Leader Training Unit (PLTU)

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The Patrol Leader Training Unit (PLTU) is a comprehensive patrol leadership course run for young leaders in the Scout Movement.

The Patrol Leader Training Unit originated at Lexden Training Camp in July 1959. Dudley Forde led the course with 19 Scouts from the 2nd Durban YMCA Scout Group in attendance. Since then, PLTU courses have been established in several other centres around the country.

PLTU Courses in South Africa


Western Cape


Eastern Cape


The motivation for starting PLTU was based on the recognition that the leaders of tomorrow will all emanate from the youth of today. Whilst the development of other leadership skills can still be effective at later stages, the development of values and attitudes is best achieved in the earlier years.

PLTU Patrol

The course attempts to help individuals overcome any perceived limitations, and stretch these limits far beyond any previous perceived boundaries. In helping individuals discover their true potential, and setting them on the road to achieving this potential, PLTU stimulates a strong sense of self-worth, self-confidence and self-discipline.

The course is only the start of a much longer development process of self-awareness and self-improvement, but it remains the vital part which initiates the momentum to sustain the motivation over an extended period.

Aim 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 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 applauded, in going a long way towards breaking down barriers and prejudices.

PLTU Programme

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, Organisation, Communication, Inter-personal skills
  • Personal skills — Life skills (e.g. 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.

PLTU has become a vital part of Scouting. It has earned the reputation of being the best course, both within and outside the Scout Movement, on offer to our Scouts. The success of the past PLTU courses has been a great encouragement. The improvement in the individuals, as well as the improvements in their home Troops, have convinced us that the course is worthy of the investment it demands, both financially and in manpower. Feedback from Scouts, parents and Scouters has been unanimously positive.