A few questions about the TA

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by The_Big_Show, Jan 5, 2008.

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  1. Hi all,

    I'm currently a student in my last year of 6th form, and i'm hoping (eventually) to join the army as an MO after completion of university, etc. Im the short term I will be taking a gap year from this july. At the moment i'm a Lance Corporal in my school's CCF, having only move taken it up last year, and I'm really keen to continue with the army link during my gap year. So, to get to the crux of the matter, i will probably be applying for the TA in the summer (after bringing my fitness up to the level required) and i have a few questions to ask.

    First of all I'm aware that i'll probably only complete my basic training during my year out ( i read somewhere it takes about a year?) but i was wondering what types of regular commitments i'd have to make? I'm guessing that there would be a regular once a week thing, but how often would i get to go on weekends, and what sort of things would i get up to on them. i.e. are the once a week sessions focussed on teaching or would that be covered more on the weekends. also while i was training would i be regularly integrated with normal members of the unit ( i.e. pick it up as i go along sort of thing) or initially would i spend my time with other recruits? Also would i be mobilised if need be while still doing basic training or not?

    Secondly would be the decision as to whether to stick with the TA or swap over to the OTC once i go off to uni? (although this is gooda year and a half off). And thirdly, if i decide to stay with the TA would a CMT be a good specialisation for a prospective MO, or are there any other options you would recommend?


  2. I'll just give you what I know about TA, firstly the person saying phase one taking a year is talking from their backside, it will only take a long time if you're doing it via weekends rather than the two week phase one camp. If you do it weekend by weekend then it will take about half a year, but if you do the two week camp you have a couple of weekends called TAFS, after that you'll be put forward to what we called Big Week.

    As for going for CMT when you're planning to join the regs as an MO is similar to what I'm doing, only I'm planning going in as a pharmacy officer. When I joined I didn't join a medical unit and didn't go in as a medic so I got some experience of the TA other than as a medic. But I'm just transferring over to B sqd 4GSMR and redoing phase two as a CMT. Good luck.

    Also check pm's
  3. 1. You should be able to complete your basic during your year out. It dependson what you intend to do with the rest of your time. If you have no significant other commitments and the timing is right (i.e. fits in with the training that has already been programmed), you could complete in a significantly lesser time. But a year is a good guess.

    2. You could join now to get the admin side of things out of the way, allowing you to get into the thick of it as soon as your A-levels are out of the way. Don't, however, allow your TA training to get in the way of your studies.

    3. Midweek training tends to be theory, weekends tend to be practice. There is a bit of variation on this theme, but that's generally it.

    4. With regard to commitments, these vary from unit to unit. Officially, you need to attend a 15 day Annual Camp (which will comprise your basic training in your first year) plus 12 days of weekend training. Total 27 days. There will usually be many more training days available at weekends, how important it is that you attend these additional days will depend on your unit. Some units actively encourage you to attend all available training, others don't. The same applies for mid-week training (Drill Nights). These are held each week, but you don't have to attend all of them. It's good if you do, as this will help you integrate into the unit and assist with preparing you for basic, but you may find that there's some repetition. Again, it's down to the role of the unit and how keen people are at both ends of the Chain of Command.

    5. Whether you are immediately integrated with the other soldiers in the unit, or are kept separate with other recruits, will depend on the size of the unit and how many other recruits there are. If you happen to be the only one, then you're not going to be stood in a corner on your own. Conversely, you're not going to be issued with live ammunition until you've been taught how to use the weapon and can demonstrate that the teaching has sunk in.

    6. You won't be mobilised until you are trained. Currently mobilisations are nominally voluntary. If you have your head screwed on, you won't volunteer for a tour until you have finished at university. You don't want to screw those studies up either. There's no rush, you know.

    7. The decision whether to switch from TA to OTC will be down to your preferences at the time. Something that may sway your decision could well be whether your TA unit is related to your ultimate career choice - you may feel you've muddled along for long enough and want a change or you may have developed a loyalty to them and stay as long as possible. Some say that OTC provides a good route for the potential officer because of its single-track structure, others would argue that the TA route is better because you're regularly working with real soldiers. The only thing is, you can't do both because you'd confuse everybody.

    There are a lot of "ifs" and "depends on" but it really does hang on what your local unit does and how motivated they are.
  4. While your in education you can't get mobilized (at least I was told) in response to point 6.

    I've found midweek training sessions tend to be theory (With some small amount of practicle (like the odd bit of weapons handling) I still find it all enjoyable and theres normally a weekend or two each month to be honest the more you put in the more you get out. I tend to mostly be with other recruits when we are getting taught though it really depends on what your doing (most people are very helpful any how so expect to be taught stuff from lots of people)

    Most things depend on your unit but I would recommend going to your local Ta and getting the ball rolling as they are very friendly and will tell you every thing you need to know.

    hope some of this helps.
  5. awesome, thanks for the help everything. one more thing. Do you have to do a fitness test on selection or is it done once you finish the recruits course. because although i would be up for joining up soon, i have nowhere near the fitness level required at the moment (think 3rd team prop forward).

  6. http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Fitness
  7. Nip out and get today's Guardian.
  8. I think I may have said this on ARRSE before, but the best way to find out what your local unit is all about is taking the big step and walking through the front door. Once you're there, the recruiting staff can tell you what training you are required to do specific to that unit. From what I have seen on here, training varies greatly across the UK (not that it should of course). For instance in my Brigade, "Territorial Army Foundation Scheme (TAFS)" is a relic of the past. Phase 1A, 1B, 1C is the new trg platform for all new recruits. And this is reflected in the national training centres (ie. Grantham) where Phase 1C is taught.

    Whereas ARRSE is a great tool for finding information, all you will get is conflicting stories (as highlighted above) and views depending on where a person has been before, and what their experiences were.

    Good luck in your career. But take my advice - go and speak to the unit you are considering joining. They won't kill you, and can't make you pregnant (assuming you're a bloke of course!)
  9. Military Gap Year:

    Not many units offer this but it is actually a gap year programme

    Due to the overwelming success of the Military Gap Year Programme over the last two years. It has been confirmed that a new programme will commence in mid July 2008. If you are interested in spending a year with the Parachute Regiment (and getting paid for it,) then use this link 'Joining 4 PARA' where you can find out more......

  10. Thanks for all the help guys, on here and by PM. I had a look at those gap years but the fitness requirements seem unacheivable seeing as its only 6 months away. I did find a mention about a gap year comission on the RE site, but it doesn't really give any details. do you know anything about this/other gap year programs there are? I read somewhere that funding was pulled for gap year comissions i from sept 2007, so i guess even the RE one might not run anymore...

    So having looked around it looks like i'll apply for A coy 4th battalion Mercian Regiment around july-ish, but i'll contact them earlier than that to det some details. I'll apply to the Midlands Challenge which will let me complete both Phases 1 and 2 training in a 4-5 week period during the summer. Thanks again for all of the help guys, you've really been invaluble. A couple more questions:

    What sort of eyesight requirements will there be in the medical? - I'm a -3.25 prescription

    Is there anyone from 4th the Mercians around who knows a bit more about the Midlands challenge programme?

    Thanks again.
  11. I'm going to be a little harsh here. That's an excuse, not a reason. Whatever you do, don't fool yourself into thinking you have limits to what you can achieve because at your age you really don't. I'd advise you don't rule anything out, consider everything and pick what appeals the most.
  12. thanks for the kick in the arse. You're right it is an excuse. I might as well put the effort in and see how I get on, thanks.

    thanks for the info aswell puttee. If i've interpereted that right it means that at -3.25 i should be alright.
  13. Alright mate,
    I'd recomend the gap year to be honest, granted i haven't done it yet so i can't say, but my situation is similar to your's. I'm in my 2nd year of college, not going to university next year, don't fancy it, and joining the army has been a thought in my mind for a couple of years. As i was unsure, the thought of having to stay in for 4 years if i changed my mind, and other reasons, made me decide not to join. The Parachute Regiment always stuck out and appealed to me so i thought if i would join, I'd join them.

    After hearing about the gap year programme at the end of last year i checked out the website and it said there might not be a gap year in 2008, i thought I'd wait until the new year to see if anything had changed and they said there would be one, applied a few days ago, just waiting for them to contact me. Had a break from training over December, long break i know but i spent a lot of time with my friends, girlfriend, family and revising for January exams. Had been training for about 6 months before that though, started again today. I'd say 6 months is long enough if you want it, but like milkandcheese said, if you want something else, then go for that, but i still recomend putting a lot into training.

    I heard you mention the midlands, don't happen to live near Oldbury or Quinton do you? I heard training partners help a lot. Anyway mate good luck with whatever you end up doing.

    Oh and does anyone have any good tips how to stop getting cramps in your stomach early on in a run?, or on how to improve how many press ups you can do?, or how to stop sweating loads even when running in shorts and t shirt in winter? (sorry if this last bit should be posted in another forum, just thought I'd throw it in with this post).


  14. Oh and sorry about my inability to spell reccomend.