"Academic" Qualifications n that...

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Adjutant, Jan 11, 2007.

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  1. Now then, The Adjt is at Staff College abroad. Got to write an essay on how Officers and JNCOs and even Tommy are 'edjumacated' both before they start basic training (be it Sandhurst or whatever)...

    Now it was a while since I went through the system, so I would really appreciate a bit of help and any useful links. Here are the exam questions:

    1. Officers What Corps ask for degrees as a pre-requisite for attending RMAS? I know you don't have to have one - but there are some where they're 'useful'. RE, R Sigs and REME spring to mind. I am also interested in how a non-grad would get on here...

    2. SNCO "In House" Training What springs to mind here is how we select and train REME tifs (and I know next to nothing), how scaly specs are trained, etc. Civvie equivalents - and are there any particular quals that civvie business jumps at? Retention issues here?

    3. Tommy and Tomasina Atkins Now I have had private soldiers with degrees (and some better than mine - but that wasn't such a feat). And that was in the Infantry. Any Graduate soldiers out there happy with their lot? Any frustrated ones who feel 'conned'?

    4. What do we get right - and what do we get wrong? - would we do well to copy Uncle Sam and give anyone who did a period in the ranks free tuition at Uni with no strings attached once they left? Would this attract better soldiers - or more 'mercenary' ones? Does an Officer need a degree to be a leader (I know this is a hardy perennial) or would he/she be better off doing more time in a mil environment?

    5. Outside the Wire How much weight does "I was in the Army for X years" pull on the CV?

    All manner of cats amongst the pigeons here - but I want to try and 'sell' our system as better than the one where I am but this got me thinking...
  2. I PM´d you just now to ask where you are. Ignore it, as I´ve just noticed your helpful hint below Sean Connery.

    I did the same assignment at the same establishment a few years ago. You have loads of material to work on, but it´ll go straight over their heads. The main thing to point out is that we use NCOs to train officers. UK NCOs take note, you are in one of the few armies in the world that allows NCOs to formally train officers, whether at RMAS or special to arm. Imagine officers teaching other officers drill and weapon handling!

    Another big difference is that we don´t have a direct entry system for NCOs. That is why our NCOs have such a wealth of experience and consequently, their opinion is valued and they have a lot of responsibility. Where you are Adjt, they are no more than glorified clerks, gofers and jobsworths.

    As for officer training, we are fairly unique in having a system that encourages officers to get a degree in pretty well any subject of their choosing at a civi uni. Although I am a confirmed non-grad, I see the tremendous breadth of knowledge that this gives us. Most other armies put their officers through a standard degree length officers academy where they fill their heads with Clauswitz and Liddle-Hart. All very well at Staff college level when you have some experience to relate it to, but fairly useless as an 18 year old straight out of school.

    I could go on about this all night. PM me with your details (my office is about 10 mins from you). It is very difficult to do this assignment without giving them a good slagging, so you need to balance it somehow.
  3. OK - this is my Scalie and personal view;

    1. Officers. Most of our young officers do have degrees and not all in techy subjects. I was talking to some young subbies who argued that the tech degree was not needed as being a Tp Comd was CRs, management etc. When you reach Major you might be expected to be a Comms/IT Project Manager on a comms project but you would be given the training before taking appointment. I have, however heard completely other views from Officers with techy Degrees but in reality, the Foremen of signals or IS Supervisors actually do the roll-out of equipment (WO/SSgts)

    2. SNCO. For signals you go Regimental Duties at Sgt/SSgt or go Forman, Yeoman or IS supvervisor which are all Degree (ish). Retention is not normally an issue as by this time they are in the pension prison (past 12 years). Should you stay in trade you probably stay at Sgt/SSgt, if you go RD you can go SSM, RSM etc.

    3. In my trade group (IS) we get some really bright young pups, with Degrees which can fit in well in a technically demanding trade group, however as a Cpl, this person needs to be able to run a detachment, deal with officers etc so a super-brain geek may be useful but will find little reward as he/she will never get promoted if they have the social skill of a chair.

    4. What do we get right? I do see many young soldiers with qualifications that are far greater than Toms had when I joined and I will be honest and say for Royal Signals this is really what we need - as long as they have social skills and common sense! Most of the ones with A levels, Degrees etc are often qualification oriented and want to convert Army courses into civvi quals which is great as often it makes a better tradesman. Also it makes than more confident to argue which crap contractors who try to sell us shite equipment!

    5. Well I've just hit my last 6 months before discharge and have landed a job paying more than I am on now. They were impressed mostly with how I came accross at the interview and the diverse experience. The quals - which I have, were not really important as many 21 yr olds have more "paper" quals than me.
  4. "5. Outside the Wire How much weight does "I was in the Army for X years" pull on the CV?"

    Can only speak from the Officer side as have been out for 10 years. It depends on who you are working for and what you are doing. Some employers don't understand until you explain waht you have actually done and then they tend to get a bit gobsmacked - particularly when you produce a position paper for them which has got a beginning, middle and end with logical conclusions.

    I could write a letter on this -nay a book! If you want further details please pm me. I am off into the sticks for a couple of weeks so if you can pm me I'll give you my mobile number and we can talk. I have experience working with large PFI companies and GOCO organisations.
  5. Having recently left the Army and gone through the whole CV and interview rigmarole I have found that there is a lack of real understanding into our responsibilities etc. that we carry out on a daily basis. However, as Rickshaw says while some companies are amazed at our roles, other cannot see past the stereo typical image of barking orders.

    There are however other companies out there that actively recruit for ex service personnel, you could get more details on this from CTP. I found out about one such very very large multinational company doing just this and now find myself earning significantly more than I did in the Army as the company recognises strength of character and adaptability as much as qualifications which can alsways be earned at a later date.
  6. Adjt - selected responses to matters I might just be qualified to speak about...

    1. A degree is a pre-requisite for joining AGC (ETS) because of the requirement to do a PGCE - you have to be post-grad basically. This now extends to LEs joining the Branch. Officially, other than the true PQO corps and branches, this is the only part of the Army to demand a degree pre-RMAS.

    4. An officer does not need a degree to be a leader. cf BS's point 3 - social skill of a chair will lead to instant failure. Better to have spent some time doing blue collar work. The 'make POs do CMS(R) in normal recruit training establishments' argument has some validity for this reason too. And would sort wheat from chaff at an early stage.

    Might have some more thoughts at a later stage. When's it due?

    Edited once to remove lunatic apostrophe. Sorry Lynn.
  7. untallguy

    untallguy Old-Salt Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I would agree that an officer does not need a degree to be a leader. However, I would argue that it does serve a few functions (in general) which will help him/her lead:

    1. Living for three years at college will teach them some life skills (eg living on a budget)
    2. They will be mature (to a degree - anyone who is still completely immature at the end of college will probably stay that way)
    3. Instead of joining at 18/19, they will have seen a little bit of life and will not be institutionalized
    4. A good degree shows that the individual can work unsupervised, to a deadline and can interpret and analyse data etc etc - all useful traits
    5. They should know how much beer they can and cannot drink (pretty key skill)

    With regards sorting wheat from chaff, I would argue that pre-RCB, RCB and RMAS does a pretty good job. I have met some people that got through the net (and I know some who would regard me in that light!) but, by and large, it does the job.
  8. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    To counter that position though,

    1. Going to work for a few years will also achieve the same, but with more diverse life skills such a working with a greater variety of people, rather than just students. Students are not the only people who have to live on a budget.

    2. Non grad as above - Working is a much faster way to maturity than spending 3 years with only your peer group. Dealing with bosses and staff, clients, suppliers etc rather than just students and lecturers.

    3. Going to university and "travelling" is one view of seeing a little bit of life. Actually getting out of an institution (which is what a university is) involves dealing with real life.

    4. Holding down paid employement also indicates the ability to work unsupervised, to a deadline etc. Bear in mind that a civvy job sets deadlines that must be met, and often without the flexibility of just doing an "all nighter" at the last minute to rush it through.

    5. Students? Drink? Pah - they are all too skint to drink properly!

    I agree with the selection procedure comments. Perhaps the move should be away from grad/non grad (18 year old) comparisons to grad/non grad (early 20's with some real life experience). I know where my money would go.

    As a non grad officer, I served alongside both types of officer and saw outstanding and appalling examples of both. Back to the old issue of it being the individual that counts.
  9. Apologies for sullying these hallowed halls with shabby retired SNCO slippers, but from the perspective of the steely-eyed dealers of death in the ranks, they perceive no particular difference between YOs with and without degrees. The main thing they're looking for in a really young (junior, not age) YO is style and enthusiasm and from the more senior YO a dawning grasp of what they're meant to be doing.
  10. I'm not a Tom any more. but from personal experience I's say edjumication is generally frowned upon as the great unwashed don't need that sort of thing I studied for 6 years to get a degree in mechanical engineering (2:1 so I was chuffed) only to overhear that "it doesn't count unless it comes from a red brick unversity" and, via CR ,that I "needed to increase my breadth of knowledge". How I laughed when Glasgow told me to apply for continuance at the same time Cranfield accepted me for an MSc I think I fall into the frustrated bracket?