AGC - TA - Your Thoughts Please


I'm in my late 30's, an accountant by trade and want to join the TA (officer).

Had a look around and realised that the only branch / corps I could join - becuae I'm so old - was the AGC.

No problem thinks I, I am an accountant after all and age has to be a factor.

Stumbled across ARRSE in my efforts to glean more information and am now left thinking, "the brochure says that as an AGC soldier/officer you're a soldier first and foremost and then a 'specialist' clerk" - slight oxymoron, but never mind. Having spent some time on the ARRSE I am now left thinking, "this AGC lark sounds a little like my everyday work except a) I don't wear DPM to work at the moment and b) The Group FD isn't quite as intimidating as a bunch of Para's who have not been given their weekly ration of beer vouchers".

My question to yourselves is, "as an AGC TA officer what would I actually find myself doing, does anyone out there have first hand experience and quite simply, would you recommend it?"

Grateful for your thoughts.
in my limited experience of the TA AGC and clerks, it seems you would be repeating your everyday job. i would think it would be more useful to join the RE or REME or INF to have a more active change to work, but with age as a factor perhaops you could join AGC and then transfer units. perhaps a stupid question, but what TA units are aound you - that might help make the decision.
As a TA Mil/Fin Clerk (the AGC Regular is both - the TA don't have the time, so still has two streams), I've found that the TA career can be quite a varied and interesting one - if I'd joined my Unit in it's role, I'd have called it quits within a few years. The AGC (like any other speciality) offers the role of the unit, plus a little bit more than ITD's on a Drill Night.

As an officer? You'd become an RAO - Regimental Adminstrative Officer. Rank ranged Capt/Major. The AGC also have Lieutenant's as Detachment Commanders, although they're a beast I've never encountered.

The RAO(V) role will vary depending on the unit. Mine used to have a TA RAO, who effectively operated as the Unit's internal auditor in the absence of a Regular/NRPS RAO. When we were established for a Permanent Staff RAO the TA officer's post was cut.

Our TA RAO didn't come out into the field, as for a weekend there was precious little for him to do. He just got in the way! He only came into his own on Annual Camp, and even then, the Regular Chief Clerk and the rest of the clerks handled the workload, and there was rarely that much of that.

With a Permanent Staff RAO and RAOWO (Sergeant Major), there is no day job for the TA chap to do - he gets filler jobs, or stuff that the permanent staff don't want to do. The day to day stuff can rarely be held over until a Drill Night, and even then there is only two hours to do it. Weekends the day staff aren't there.

My biggest concern about commissioning as an AGC officer has always hinged on two facts - firstly, that the role is pretty much what I do during my working day (I'm an accountant) and secondly, that if they cut your post, you then have to find another. It's very easy to find a job as a Soldier in the AGC. Most units are short of them, as the majority of people who join up, do so to do the stuff that you see on the adverts.

My suggestion would be to contact a unit that already has a TA Officer in post, give them a call, and ask if you could pop in and see them on a Drill Night. If you like what he/she has to say, then pursue it further, although bear in mind that no 2 units are the same.

Otherwise, I would strongly recommend going the Soldier route. You still get the chance at promotion, you'll be a valued member of the unit, and you'll get the opportunity to do things at soldier level, that perhaps aren't always offered to officers, like driving licences for example. I would never have been offered C+E or Motorcycle courses as an officer.

It's also worth bearing in mind that the Army don't run their finances like a business. An instructor on one of my finance courses pointed out that a Paymaster in Wellington's Army would be able to understand unit finances now.
Join the monkeys for a total change!
A TA career as an SPS officer is viable, if you choose the right environment.

My unit has both a TA RAO and TA RAOWO, with SPS Soldiers who are fully integrated into the unit admin and particpate fully in not just admin, but unit trg, exercises and last year, an OTX. The TA RAO and RAOWO deployed the Bn, carried out all financial and admin functions in a former soviet republic, which great success.

The key to this is integration and realistic training. Getting people properly qualified for their posts (ie, attending relevant courses and letting them actually do the job). We concentrate our trg on skills required for operational deployment and take advice from those Regular SPS personnel who have employed TA SPS personnel on Ops in the past.

We would welcome any contact you might wish to make with us on this, and a visit could well be arranged. We are based in SE England, and easy to find.

PM me if you want to learn more.
I have a female work colleague - late 30s, qualifed accountant - who has sometimes expressed an interest in the TA, particularly the AGC.

If she wanted to follow the AGC interest through, what's the best way forward? I mean, is there a central contact point for the TA AGC, or is it best to approach individual units, to see if they have any AGC vacancies there? I asked at our place, but the AGC officer I spoke to wasn't interested, because of her age.

I presume she'd be looking to go in as a soldier, rather than an officer.

Late 30's is fine. She needs to think about the type of unit that she'd like to join and give them a call. She'll need to be fit enough to complete the recruit cadre.

CVHQ at Worthy Down is still there, so she can give them a call, or as I said above, find a local unit and pop in and see them.

Surprised at the AGC officer not being interested due to age, unless they were swamped with Potential AGC, which seems unusual.
Mr_Relaxed said:
Late 30's is fine. Surprised at the AGC officer not being interested due to age, unless they were swamped with Potential AGC, which seems unusual.
Thanks for the advice. I was a bit surprised about how disinterested he was, too.

Mind you, he did ask about her qualification; she's ACA, and the preference is for CIMA types. As I'm CIMA myself, I can at least understand this aspect of his disinterest :lol:
Pork_Pie said:
Mr_Relaxed said:
Late 30's is fine. Surprised at the AGC officer not being interested due to age, unless they were swamped with Potential AGC, which seems unusual.
Thanks for the advice. I was a bit surprised about how disinterested he was, too.

Mind you, he did ask about her qualification; she's ACA, and the preference is for CIMA types. As I'm CIMA myself, I can at least understand this aspect of his disinterest :lol:
If she's joining as a soldier, then there's bugger all preference! I'm CIMA and have no recollection of ever using my qualification on a practical level within the TA!

The requirement as a soldier is for a basic grasp of maths and english. The majority of unit administration is done during the working day by the Civil Service, so it's really about learning basic administrative techniques that the military use, and being able to employ those techniques on a drill night or weekend.

Practical administration in the field is minimal over a weekend, it's mostly a case of ensuring that the skills required to administer the unit are practiced. Couple that with the ability to work unsupervised within a CP environment, and be the G1 specialist.

Pay administration is relatively low level data input. Some maths required to work out allowances etc. One of my clerks has no maths skills whatsover but is still a very effective clerk. The Army doesn't use a TB that you'd want to copy and use at work! IFRS doesn't really get a look in. And I've always wondered why the MoD doesn't push for CIPFA as it's qualification of choice. Far more relevant I would have thought.

Think the good old days of handwritten Kalamazoo and you'll see how most units are financially run. The PSAO will run the accounts anyway, stopping skill fade on this is one of my biggest headaches.
I am interested in this topic, active recruiting for the TA in units, seems to aim for the main cap badge. AGC(SPS) are sometimes regarded as a second or third option, or in the case of teeth arms (Inf etc) an only option for females, along with medic's and Chef's. In addition, unit establishments preclude overbearing - although this is due to change after FAS.

I have tried to get AGC recruiting materials from the system, without much success. In London the RFCA has a corporate structure which includes the production of AGC recruiting materials along with unit products. This is not the case elsewhere.

In my case, I am normally notified, that 'so and so' who has been enlisted wants to be a Clerk, and this is the first I know of it. Suitability for employment is an issue as SC is a pre-requisite and as stated earlier, good basic literacy and numeracy. I also look for IT skills and some sort of employment or study background in admin, finance or HR.

Recruiting for AGC(SPS)(V) Officers can be via the Direct Entry Route, applying via the hotline for an Officers Post, and specifiying an interest in AGC as the preferred employment option - this should lead to contact with a unit, for interview etc, and if successful, subsequent enlistment and entry onto the Initial Trg/Officer Trg process.

Alternative options include approaching units as a Direct Entry, and getting their sponsorship. In the end, the Officer Trg hurdle must be overcome before any real SPS trg can be delivered. But identity is important, and wearing the cap badge etc through that process demonstrates the commitment. The problem with direct entry is the age limits - but these can be overcome by joining a unit first and than identifying your self as a potential officer.

As I said in my earlier post, individuals can PM me if they wish to follow up this option.



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