Advice for a Potential Volunteer

Timmeh

Crow
Hello all,

I have decided to take a foray into ARRSE to ask this question, and the website has already called me a crow, so let's see how much more piss taking I can accrue.

I am a currently serving regular JNCO and I've found myself a bit bored lately, and I've taken the time afforded me by the COVID-19 outbreak to research some options to use up some more of my time. One of those options is to volunteer with an ACF unit (when they are open again).

Having scoured the forums I've noticed quite a divide between those who say it is good stuff with committed instructors and those who seemingly can't stand it and have it written off as the home of walts and army rejects. However I've also noticed quite a few (the vast majority) of those posts are dated, and that a lot of them reference an upcoming instructor selection overhaul.

So, I've got a few questions:

Has this overhaul happened and is it having the desired effect? Are the instructors gaining in quality and are the kids therefore better served? Does this make it does rewarding for instructors?

As I am still serving, how much leeway is given to those volunteering as and when they can, as opposed to being able to commit to every week, weekend and annual camp?

I've read that regular personnel can become Service Helpers. Have any of you got experience of this and have you found the process workable? What sort of role would a Service Helper expect to have?

Finally, I've noticed there isn't much about the CCF in this forum. Is this worth considering? All of the historic slamming on this forum seems directed at the ACF, so I thought it's a question worth asking. I'll leave it at that but if it is worth considering I may have some follow up questions on the CCF.

If I was to volunteer, it would most likely be in Wiltshire, so any Wiltshire specific information would be useful.

Thanks in advance.
 
Commendable.

However, if you are bored and would like to challenge your brain then go and do some learning. I left as an SNCO to go to uni, I had noticed that my brain was starting to stagnate and started out by raiding the garrison library and reading around 3, or 4 books a week. The Open University was the only path open to me where I was, but I like sitting in a classroom to learn so I binned that idea. After I graduated with a BSc I bumped into an old Major of mine who had moved up to LtCol and he suggested I rejoin as I would get picked up for a commission within the year - I didn't.

A couple of others I had worked with had been in positions to attend day release at college in the UK and did HND's as LCpl's/Cpl's. Once they hit Sgt and had done a couple of years they were on the list for commissioning which moved them up the ladder. I also knew another chap who very rapidly moved from Cpl to WO1 after doing a business studies HND, and he kept fighting off the recommendations for commissioning until he was a WO1 where he would have sat for around 10 years waiting to finish his 22 years.

Worth thinking about if you are bored.
 

Timmeh

Crow
Commendable.

However, if you are bored and would like to challenge your brain then go and do some learning. I left as an SNCO to go to uni, I had noticed that my brain was starting to stagnate and started out by raiding the garrison library and reading around 3, or 4 books a week. The Open University was the only path open to me where I was, but I like sitting in a classroom to learn so I binned that idea. After I graduated with a BSc I bumped into an old Major of mine who had moved up to LtCol and he suggested I rejoin as I would get picked up for a commission within the year - I didn't.

A couple of others I had worked with had been in positions to attend day release at college in the UK and did HND's as LCpl's/Cpl's. Once they hit Sgt and had done a couple of years they were on the list for commissioning which moved them up the ladder. I also knew another chap who very rapidly moved from Cpl to WO1 after doing a business studies HND, and he kept fighting off the recommendations for commissioning until he was a WO1 where he would have sat for around 10 years waiting to finish his 22 years.

Worth thinking about if you are bored.
Yeah learning fits quite prominently as one of my ideas to alleviate the boredom, and I might well do it yet. I've got good comms with the UEO regarding that route already, however, whereas the information on cadet volunteering eludes me... I've also been putting a lot of thought into AT, as I've missed out on it a LOT in my career!
 
It can be very rewarding - as long as you keep in mind that it is a youth organisation that happens to wear uniforms (badly, for the most part) and not an open-ended Phase 2.
 
Yeah learning fits quite prominently as one of my ideas to alleviate the boredom, and I might well do it yet. I've got good comms with the UEO regarding that route already, however, whereas the information on cadet volunteering eludes me... I've also been putting a lot of thought into AT, as I've missed out on it a LOT in my career!
I wish you luck whatever you decide to do.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
Look outside of Cadets as well. Lots of other youth organisations that do outdoor stuff, usually with considerably less bs.
 
I was a Service Helper for a number of years while I was in the Army; process was relatively straightforward - letter from the ACF Commandant to your CO requesting your help, if your CO agrees it needs to be published on Part 1 Orders so you’re officially on duty and also so the rest of your Battalion can make Jimmy Saville jokes about you for the rest of eternity.

However, before you get that far, go and have a chat with the local ACF County HQ and see what they need help with; you say you’re a JNCO, do you have any mil quals or AT quals that would be useful to the ACF, or even something as useful as a minibus licence to help bus the kids around?

Equally, what do you want out of this? A bit of practice instructing, prior to a career course? A chance to use your mil quals? Hopefully what you want out of this will match what your local County need at that moment in time.

If you’ve never worked with the ACF before, recalibrate your expectations accordingly; the only similarities are the drill, the uniform, parts of the weapon system and the military bureaucracy - everything else is subtly or completely different so be warned.

All that said, best thing to do is go and talk to them - each County and situation is different so any advice you get on here will be fairly generic.

Good luck.
 

Timmeh

Crow
It can be very rewarding - as long as you keep in mind that it is a youth organisation that happens to wear uniforms (badly, for the most part) and not an open-ended Phase 2.
So I am perfectly fine with this. Far be it from me to join a kids organisation and try to turn it into my own private army. One of my concerns is how others treat it, and whether the instructors I would work with would be complete walts who want exactly that.

Look outside of Cadets as well. Lots of other youth organisations that do outdoor stuff, usually with considerably less bs.
That is something I've thought (a little) about. I'm not sure how much the CoC would support it compared to something overtly military in nature though? That's an honest question, I really don't know.

I was a Service Helper for a number of years while I was in the Army; process was relatively straightforward - letter from the ACF Commandant to your CO requesting your help, if your CO agrees it needs to be published on Part 1 Orders so you’re officially on duty and also so the rest of your Battalion can make Jimmy Saville jokes about you for the rest of eternity.

However, before you get that far, go and have a chat with the local ACF County HQ and see what they need help with; you say you’re a JNCO, do you have any mil quals or AT quals that would be useful to the ACF, or even something as useful as a minibus licence to help bus the kids around?

Equally, what do you want out of this? A bit of practice instructing, prior to a career course? A chance to use your mil quals? Hopefully what you want out of this will match what your local County need at that moment in time.

If you’ve never worked with the ACF before, recalibrate your expectations accordingly; the only similarities are the drill, the uniform, parts of the weapon system and the military bureaucracy - everything else is subtly or completely different so be warned.

All that said, best thing to do is go and talk to them - each County and situation is different so any advice you get on here will be fairly generic.

Good luck.
That's the most useful response I've had so far (not that the others weren't useful!), so thanks. Would you say the best process would be to speak to the ACF county first, and then say to my CoC, "Hey, look, I've got this great idea of something I can do..."?

MATTs quals are pending, after the COVID-19 drama has gone a bit quieter, so I should be able to offer something.

And yes, if I do it I will full well expect some Jimmy Saville piss taking. But hey, it's the army, if you can't take a joke...

Thanks all, I was expecting a LOT more piss taking than this, though there is still time I guess...
 

ExREME..TECH

On ROPS
On ROPs
Hello all,

I have decided to take a foray into ARRSE to ask this question, and the website has already called me a crow, so let's see how much more piss taking I can accrue.

I am a currently serving regular JNCO and I've found myself a bit bored lately, and I've taken the time afforded me by the COVID-19 outbreak to research some options to use up some more of my time. One of those options is to volunteer with an ACF unit (when they are open again).

Having scoured the forums I've noticed quite a divide between those who say it is good stuff with committed instructors and those who seemingly can't stand it and have it written off as the home of walts and army rejects. However I've also noticed quite a few (the vast majority) of those posts are dated, and that a lot of them reference an upcoming instructor selection overhaul.

So, I've got a few questions:

Has this overhaul happened and is it having the desired effect? Are the instructors gaining in quality and are the kids therefore better served? Does this make it does rewarding for instructors?

As I am still serving, how much leeway is given to those volunteering as and when they can, as opposed to being able to commit to every week, weekend and annual camp?

I've read that regular personnel can become Service Helpers. Have any of you got experience of this and have you found the process workable? What sort of role would a Service Helper expect to have?

Finally, I've noticed there isn't much about the CCF in this forum. Is this worth considering? All of the historic slamming on this forum seems directed at the ACF, so I thought it's a question worth asking. I'll leave it at that but if it is worth considering I may have some follow up questions on the CCF.

If I was to volunteer, it would most likely be in Wiltshire, so any Wiltshire specific information would be useful.

Thanks in advance.
Apply for your DBS Enhanced now

 
That's the most useful response I've had so far (not that the others weren't useful!), so thanks. Would you say the best process would be to speak to the ACF county first, and then say to my CoC, "Hey, look, I've got this great idea of something I can do..."?
Yes, exactly that. Give the local County a call (the County HQ should be manned by a member of the Permanent Support Staff), explain who you are and what you'd like to offer and they should pass your details onto the ACF Officer/Adult Instructor who deals with new volunteers. If they can find a use for you, you can then approach your CoC for permission. The blessing of your CoC is important, not least so you can bid for transport/MMA etc to help you deliver things for the Cadets.

Have a think about what value you can add. You might not have the quals to deliver an activity, but could your contacts and influence help the Cadets to visit your Unit? Does your Unit have a particularly interesting role/kit they would be interested in?

MATTs quals are pending, after the COVID-19 drama has gone a bit quieter, so I should be able to offer something.
Range Quals are always useful (up to B Qual), as is an M Qual and navigation, as well as obviously being beneficial to your Army career.

And yes, if I do it I will full well expect some Jimmy Saville piss taking. But hey, it's the army, if you can't take a joke...
Don't worry, as long as you don't wear reactolight glasses, I'm sure you'll be fine....

Apply for your DBS Enhanced now

I'd actually advise against this, your County will apply for your DBS check at no cost to you, as part of your on-boarding process; applying for your own will only confuse the issue.
 
I'd actually advise against this, your County will apply for your DBS check at no cost to you, as part of your on-boarding process; applying for your own will only confuse the issue.
Yeah this, I got mine sorted out by the NHS but it has been indispensable for some photographic jobs- and in the course of making the application you can opt to pay a small annual subscription which gives you access to it for third party requirements.
All the better if you can get County to start the ball rolling- even if Covid-19 precludes you from actually starting volunteer work- the DBS check can take a couple of months to come through.
 

Timmeh

Crow
Yes, exactly that. Give the local County a call (the County HQ should be manned by a member of the Permanent Support Staff), explain who you are and what you'd like to offer and they should pass your details onto the ACF Officer/Adult Instructor who deals with new volunteers. If they can find a use for you, you can then approach your CoC for permission. The blessing of your CoC is important, not least so you can bid for transport/MMA etc to help you deliver things for the Cadets.

Have a think about what value you can add. You might not have the quals to deliver an activity, but could your contacts and influence help the Cadets to visit your Unit? Does your Unit have a particularly interesting role/kit they would be interested in?



Range Quals are always useful (up to B Qual), as is an M Qual and navigation, as well as obviously being beneficial to your Army career.
Grand that's all really useful to me. I've still got other ideas in the pot waiting to go, but I'll definitely be keeping all this in mind. Thank you.

Yeah this, I got mine sorted out by the NHS but it has been indispensable for some photographic jobs- and in the course of making the application you can opt to pay a small annual subscription which gives you access to it for third party requirements.
All the better if you can get County to start the ball rolling- even if Covid-19 precludes you from actually starting volunteer work- the DBS check can take a couple of months to come through.
Fantastic, thank you. I'll start thinking about this through the end of this week and hopefully commit in the next couple of weeks if it all looks like a good idea.

Thanks guys, appreciate the help. I will say that I've noticed the lack of any sarcastic comments though...
 

Buddy!

War Hero
Commendable.

However, if you are bored and would like to challenge your brain then go and do some learning. I left as an SNCO to go to uni, I had noticed that my brain was starting to stagnate and started out by raiding the garrison library and reading around 3, or 4 books a week. The Open University was the only path open to me where I was, but I like sitting in a classroom to learn so I binned that idea. After I graduated with a BSc I bumped into an old Major of mine who had moved up to LtCol and he suggested I rejoin as I would get picked up for a commission within the year - I didn't.

A couple of others I had worked with had been in positions to attend day release at college in the UK and did HND's as LCpl's/Cpl's. Once they hit Sgt and had done a couple of years they were on the list for commissioning which moved them up the ladder. I also knew another chap who very rapidly moved from Cpl to WO1 after doing a business studies HND, and he kept fighting off the recommendations for commissioning until he was a WO1 where he would have sat for around 10 years waiting to finish his 22 years.

Worth thinking about if you are bored.
I second this. Absolutely excellent advice; so many of my colleagues overlook the exceptional educational opportunities and funding available. Unsure if uni is for you? Consider a (free) university short course; if nothing else, you will learn something new.

I started studying with the OU as a Private and found it a challenge to remain committed and placed a (regrettable) hiatus on my studies, you have to find the right time. Since then, I have successfully completed various HE opportunities through work and feel armed to push further - personally, I would want to leave without having taken full advantage of what is on offer, there's only so many dits you can spin in civvy street.

Not trying to spin this into a HE thread, the ACF and other Cadet Forces provide an excellent opportunity for all involved... Keep us updated!
 

Boxy

GCM
It can be very rewarding - as long as you keep in mind that it is a youth organisation that happens to wear uniforms (badly, for the most part) and not an open-ended Phase 2.
Never a truer word spoken
 

Talon

Old-Salt
as long as you keep in mind that it is a youth organisation that happens to wear uniforms (badly, for the most part)
But a keen instructor can fix that, at least at their own unit. It really annoys me when I see obvious things wrong - usually badly fitting uniform, berets missing cap badges or backing, stuff like that. These are all things that can be solved and I made sure I did so when I ran a detachment. Being a DC is a big job, so you can easily take some work off their hands by doing the inspections and organising uniform replacements with the CAA.
 
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