A dedicated TA Near You website is born!

#1
History buffs might want to read from page 1. Otherwise, head straight to page 7.


Summary

The problem: the launch of the new Armyjobs website has had a massively negative impact on the TA's web recruiting effort (see here).

The solution: www.tanearyou.org.uk

Your role: go to that site and register your unit's various subunits (click on the link at the bottom of the home page).


Background

1. Murder/manslaughter most foul

On 1 April 2007, one of the TA's most effective means of recruiting was the victim of a silent assassination.

Its killer was called Armyjobs.mod.uk. It did its foul deed in the name of a political doctrine known as "One Army Recruiting".

The victim was modest, unassuming. It was a search function on the home page of the old TA website: TA Near You.

But that function's modesty hid its power. A potential recruit to the TA could find it easily (by Google) and very swiftly work out how to use it to discover the TA units most easily within reach.

Armyjobs replaced that function with a weaker, milder (and in some cases malfunctioning) one - and buried it deep in the new One Army Recruiting website. The results which this new Armyjobs patsy produces bury information about the TA beneath a mountain of irrelevance. For a more detailed examination of that website's failings, see here.

With the demise of the old TA Near You, the flow of potential recruits making contact with the TA after having investigated it on the internet has seen a huge decrease. Figures I have seen suggest that the drop is in the region of 98%.

One Army Recruiting has not even begun to compensate for that fall. In my unit's case, it has provided sufficient enquiries to reduce the 98% fall to a mere 97%.

2. Voices of alarm ignored

I believe that the impact of TA Near You's demise was swiftly spotted by TA recruiters who kept watch on website viewing statistics. Comments about the new site's failings were made - and supported with detailed argument.

But the One Army Recruiting website remains unaltered.

And so other means need to be engaged in, at least for now. Otherwise the effects of this catastrophic decline in online recruiting will swiftly feed through into the numbers joining the TA - and, given the perennial "churn" - quickly into a rapidly falling number of people in the TA.

3. Addressing the problem, TA style

The new Armyjobs.mod.uk site has been failing for nearly three months, with no sign of implementation of the simple but necessary improvements which have been suggested.

And so danglydell and I have created an interim substitute: www.tanearyou.org.uk

From flash on 14 June to bang today: not bad, and done for roughly 0.0001% of what it would have cost the MoD.

Although danglydell has done a great job in producing the current "beta" version of the site, it's an amateur effort (in the sense that it is being done voluntarily and out of passion for the TA). The new site relies on YOU.

Neither danglers nor I could possibly create an index of all the TA units in the country. So we need you to help. All you need to do is go to the site and add your unit's details using the link at the bottom of the home page. We (well, danglers) will do the rest.

4. How long we sing this song?

Clearly, if the Armyjobs website implements certain cheap and obvious changes there will be no need for the new TA Near You website.

Which is a shame, really, as the volunteer TA effort is better (by which I mean better value, faster, better-looking and more intelligent) than the official MoD ones ever have been.

But ain't that always the way?

Yours ever,

Dr Evil and danglydell (MBE, in all likelihood)

PS Yeah, there are weird transcription errors in the text of some units' descriptions - it has trouble with apostrophes - but don't worry, we'll sort them. Also, we're trying to work out a way of differentiating between national (specialist) and regional (independent) units: we'll implement that when we can.
 
#3
Hmm. A bit uncomfortable as to the possible repercussions of speaking out for an entire TAC, given my rank!

But one soldier - let's call him Jim, has posted his own TAC details. What if those details are slightly out? What if the role description is exagerated? Will Private Jim be having a chat with the CO sans tea and biscuits?
 
#5
welshblokemiles said:
Hmm. A bit uncomfortable as to the possible repercussions of speaking out for an entire TAC, given my rank!

But one soldier - let's call him Jim, has posted his own TAC details. What if those details are slightly out? What if the role description is exagerated? Will Private Jim be having a chat with the CO sans tea and biscuits?
How would Pte Jim be identified as the contributor? And what sort of toss CO would object to a bit of guerilla marketing if it means he gets the lion's share of recruits in that postcode?

Outstanding Dr_E, very well done.

I hope FFBox posts details of his RTC, his CO obviously has no idea who he is. and it saves him doing it himself
 
#7
Nice job Dr evil, danglydell.

Regarding welshblokemiles concerns im sure that 'perhaps!' the RRTT's? can push it up through the COC.

Eventualy im sure that main building will fix 'Armyjobs' web site to work.
 
#8
welshblokemiles said:
Hmm. A bit uncomfortable as to the possible repercussions of speaking out for an entire TAC, given my rank!

But one soldier - let's call him Jim, has posted his own TAC details. What if those details are slightly out? What if the role description is exagerated? Will Private Jim be having a chat with the CO sans tea and biscuits?
All entries are reviewed by myself before being posted to the website - nothing goes live without some editorial 'review' - I won't be posting b*llocks to the site.
 
#10
Sixty said:
Ah. Cheers. I did wonder who to contact after my lot were listed as Royal Engineers :)
Yep, the data is a bit interesting in places - the site was done in and around the day job (actually more the other way around). Any corrections please send to me and I'll sort pronto.

dangly
 
G

Goku

Guest
#11
Well done Dr Evil and danglydell !!!!

Can I suggest one improvement, could you put in a search by post code feature as we used to have with the old “find a TAC near you” site?
 
#12
welshblokemiles said:
Hmm. A bit uncomfortable as to the possible repercussions of speaking out for an entire TAC, given my rank!

But one soldier - let's call him Jim, has posted his own TAC details. What if those details are slightly out? What if the role description is exagerated? Will Private Jim be having a chat with the CO sans tea and biscuits?
Simplest thing to do is:

(1) Lift all of the required information (especially description of role) from the subunit's existing public information on the internet, on www.army.mod.uk. Note to wiseguys: yes, this is use of copyrighted material but is "fair use" and is not for profit. Also, it is a handy way of avoiding security concerns about the info.

(2) Run the info being submitted past others in your unit to ensure it is fully up-to-date (unlike many official unit sites :wink: ).

Bear in mind that danglers will be inputting/correcting this info on his own - somehow, my hordes of evil minions have bunked off this one - so do what you can to make his task easier.
 
#13
Goku said:
Well done Dr Evil and danglydell !!!!

Can I suggest one improvement, could you put in a search by post code feature as we used to have with the old “find a TAC near you” site?
Postcode searches are possible on the vanilla Google Maps. Go to maps.google.com and type in "SW1 1AA" (or any other postcode) as the search term. See? So I guess it should be possible for our site.

Over to you, danglers.
 
#14
Dr_Evil said:
Goku said:
Well done Dr Evil and danglydell !!!!

Can I suggest one improvement, could you put in a search by post code feature as we used to have with the old “find a TAC near you” site?
Postcode searches are possible on the vanilla Google Maps. Go to maps.google.com and type in "SW1 1AA" (or any other postcode) as the search term. See? So I guess it should be possible for our site.

Over to you, danglers.
Postcode searches were good, but by putting the info on a rescaleable map, Dr E and DD have gone to the next level. A potential recruit centres on his home, then zooms out until he reaches the unit of his choice. Perhaps the only modification required is to write this in the instructions.

I like the idea. It is simple and effective. Its biggest advantage is that a potential recruit sees what choice is available IN HIS AREA. (Daughter wants to join a local RE or RLC unit - given this info, ACIO would offer units firkin miles away, beyond her reach. Given Dr E's system, she can see what IS within her reach and select units accordingly).

Forgive the excessive use of smileys but this deserves it:
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :salut:
 
#15
Excellent, well done chaps!

Are you including UOTCs? I know, filthy soap-dodgers etc, but they are Cat B TA after all.
 
#17
putteesinmyhands said:
Postcode searches were good, but by putting the info on a rescaleable map, Dr E and DD have gone to the next level. A potential recruit centres on his home, then zooms out until he reaches the unit of his choice. Perhaps the only modification required is to write this in the instructions.
Roger. You're right - some people might need a little help on that front.

The other benefit of providing this info in map form is that it enables people who are familiar with the transport network to choose units that are near in terms of travel time rather than geographically close.
 
#19
Thanks to all who have said thanks.

But please bear in mind that danglydell actually designed the site and maintains the database. All I did was come up with the evil idea and burble something about Google Maps.

That map is starting to give me the fackin orn. I'm about to go all Peter Snow.

I'm wondering whether it might throw up some revealing new insights about the extent and depth of the TA's coverage (in other words, some big gaps in some places).
 

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