A few queries! (Joining up & 265 Sp Sqn, R SIGNALS)

I applied for the regular army back in march or so, and was given a medical deferral requesting proof that I had been "free of emotional or anxiety issues for 3 years"; due to family stuff that had required counseling. The deferral letter said that I simply had to get the evidence they want, and provide it with the deferral letter when I apply next.

Now I haven't been to the doctors in years, so I know I could get all the evidence I need. However, with the current recruiting climate I decided that now would not be the best time to fight it.

The weeks grew and I felt that frustrating urge that made me apply to begin with - I can't describe it, and to be honest, I worry about sounding a bit of a walt saying this! However, I just really wanted to wear that uniform - and listening to mates who were "in" made me think "That is what I want to do."; I just can't see any civilian jobs that come close in terms of satisfaction, variety.. and theres just this "urge". I thought that I could make the most of time though by studying.

I ended up moving to Milton Keynes and approached 1 Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry (Special Communications) and spoke to a Major (or maybe it was a Sgt. Major) and she told me I could apply, as long as I got a letter from my GP as my deferral requested.

She also said, that being 17 in July meant that I could only technically join up in January; BUT she said she would speak to the Admin Officer about me joining before as "You'll only start training then anyway, so theres no point hanging about.". Which kept me really happy!

Things in Milton Keynes didn't quite work out so I've moved back to SE London and I am now looking at 265 Support Squadron, R SIGNALS (Bexleyheath). However, I emailed them querying what was said at Bletchley and whether it would be possible here - however, I don't know if I emailed the correct address as I've received no correspondence. (However, this happened at Bletchley first too - as I found 2 email addresses, one of which was incorrect)

I guess my questions are;
(a) Is it a good idea to join the TA, if I do want to join the regulars either after the recruiting flow fixes itself - or I finish my studies. (Could be years down the line?)
(b) What is the current situation for the TA? Don't get me wrong - I've tried reading the threads in "Just TA" but all the acronyms are quite confusing :p
(c) Do you think other units would be as accommodating as Bletchley tried to be? I know that right now the TA seem to be limping along with the current budget cuts.. so I can fully understand if they aren't! Worst case scenario I have to wait till February or so - but I would like to get the ball rolling ASAP!

Thanks in advance guys!
For question (a) - "is it worth it if I'm going to join the regulars" - depends how long until you're thinking of joining the regulars, which I'm not sure about as "studies" could mean anything from A-Levels to a medical degree. :) Less than 18 months? Don't bother - you'll just about finish basic training by then, perhaps with time for trade, and then you'll have to just go back and do it again with the regulars. From what I've seen personally, unless you sign up right off an operational tour (Afgan) with a COs recommendation, you almost certainly will have to do Phase 1 training again and quite possibly phase 2 (Trade) and will lose any substantial rank you have. Doing TA while at Uni, getting on a tour just as you finish then going Regular/Sandhurst does not seem an uncommon approach certainly.

I'm not sure what you mean with question (b) and (c) but in terms of recruiting, many units have a complete hold on any recruiting activities until March(ish) 2010, plus PSAOs at some units often aren't the best at responding to emails from outsiders anyway. That doesn't mean they won't attest someone who shows enough enthusiasm to turn up though - in fact, many RSigs units are hurting from recent changes and desperate to get people in through the door. (And being mercenary for a second - there seems little to stop you getting through basic training then switching cap badge if RSigs does go to the wall totally in 2010/2011, but you're in an excellent position for getting a stripe pretty quick if the unit does manage to grow when recruiting picks up.)

Your best bet is to ring up or even better, just pitch up on a drill night and ask - there is usually almost always someone about doing "recruit reception" although be prepared for it to be "here's a huge stack of paperwork, come back next week with it filled in", particularly with RSigs units. (Security Clearance takes an age so they get you to fill it in up front and submit it as soon as it looks like you're not a complete waste of time) Then keep turning up every week. The fastest way to get through the system is to be on parade (If that's the local way of doing thins with pre-attestation recruits) every week saying "Staff, have you booked my medical/barb/selection/TSC(A)/TSC(B)/trade course yet?"

It's annoying but the only people who can tell you anything at all about the medical requirements are the medical staff. There's little point taking any paperwork with you the first time you turn up because you won't get a medical on the spot - it'll need to be booked and that can take anything from a week to three months to sort out. Bring the paperwork to that - and at least with the TA and civvi doctors, they seem less strict than regulars.
Ah, Thanks for an awesome response!

Yeah, I guess I did word "a" a little bit bone! I'd be looking at doing a degree for a few years - anything from 3 to 6 years; hoping to nail it in 3 years though. (Doing it via the OU, so if I'm working full time it'll be 6 - part time it will be 3) I would be joining up with the aspiration of perhaps doing a tour if/when I could!

I guess my other question was relating more to budgetary issues, training cuts etc! Its a shame to hear the RSigs units have suffered so harshly recently, it would really suit me I think. (Looking at doing a degree in a combination of Engineering and Computing; so lots of networking etc. I'm also going to get an Amatuer Radio license as I enjoy the theory and electronics behind radio! So I think Signals could be best!)

I'll try the other email address I have for them, then failing that - give em a bell on Tuesday and pop down there! Cheers for all the advice! :)

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