Choice of Arm Procedure

Discussion in 'Officers' started by cwarwick, Feb 22, 2008.

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  1. Hello. As someone who is off to Sandhurst in May and thinking about possible future regiments, I was wondering whether most people end up where they would most like to be. For example, I am keen on both the Rifles and the PWRR, how competitve is it to gain a place in these regiments? Also, what do people think are the most and the least subscribed to regiments?
  2. In answer to your first question, do most people go where they'd wish; this rather depends on your aspirations and how good you are (to put it bluntly).

    In answer to your other questions, regiments (and corps) go in and out of fashion to a certain extent. I would imagine that the RIFLES are fairly well subscribed at the moment for two reasons, firstly (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) it has 5 Bns and therefore officers joining would have a realistic chance of experiencing all of the infantry roles (less Air Asslt) i.e. Lt, Armoured, Mech(?) and of course Cdo (a big seller at the moment). I remember when I was at Sandhurst certainly the RGJ and LI had no shortage of applicant (can't remember about D&D and RGBW).

    As far as which are the most and least popular choices, again goes in fits and starts. Generally the teeth arms will be over subscribed (especially PARA, RGR, AAC, etc.), CSS the least (especially AMS) and CS somewhere in the middle. In my intake the RTR and RE were very well subscribed and the RLC undersubscribed.

    As I recall Sandhurst policy is that cap-badge selection takes place at the beginning of the senior term (used to be at week 22 in the middle of the intermediate term). Having said that there were a few OCdts who knew where they going even before they started at Sandhurst.
  3. Irrelevent question but are the 1st battalion Rifles who are attached to 3 Cdo actually Commando trained or just plain infantry mucking in with the marines?
  4. You're right.
    Completely irrelevant question, and one with many answers elsewhere.
  5. Yes, it is irrelevant - 'just plain infantry' indeed. You'll go far.

    What BC said - Regimental Selection Boards sit in weeks two and three of the senior term, and you will be fighting two choices by then. You'll have plenty of steers throughout the course from your Pl Comd and the Regimental Reps about your choices. They should be pretty upfront with you both about the suitability of your expectations (if, for instance, you can't stand getting wet, wearing facepaint, or sharing crap scoff and heavy weapons with the Other Ranks whilst tabbing for miles, they might suggest that the infantry isn't your cup of tea), and the recruiting picture for the regiment in question. Each regiment or corps will have a quota of places to fill for the year, and should be honest with you about what's available.

    You'll be briefed in outline on your PCCBC, and in much more detail when you arrive, and you'll see that the system is geared to ensuring that everyone finds a home - ideally there won't be very many unplaced cadets to 'clear' after RSBs, and there certainly shouldn't be too many nasty shocks. It's a good sign that you already know of what you speak, and I'd advise you to get in visits to a couple of other units before arrival if you can, just to cover additional ground, but you've got choices there encompassing seven Battalions - not a bad 'seller's market' to be in!

    Good luck.
  6. Cheers for the good answers BC and Exrivo, it's good to hear a bit more abouth the process from people in the know.
  7. From experience, you'll probably find that you just fall into your regiment. The importance of visits cannot be overemphasised, it gives you exposure to the soldiers you will command and just as importantly the Mess, after all these are the guys/girls you will have to live with. I turned up at Sandhurst as die hard infantryman and ended up in the Medics. Have a good look around and remember that there is more to the Army than just the teeth arms.
  8. Does anyone have an idea of what sort of effect being sponsored by a regiment and having already been interviewed by the CO has on selection? Or is that only helpful for organising RCB etc.
    I have done so for my preferred choice as well as having visited and spoken to members of others. But I have a choice I really want, godfather's regiment, location, recommendations, role and general passion for said regiment.
  9. Honestly, as much or as little as the regiment wants it to have.
  10. Whenever you find yourself at that point in the second (could have shifted to the third term - but don't think so) term in front of your 2 respective Regimental Boards then they will of course have some words from the CO that has interviewed you. He will have jotted a few words down about you, as a character, and on how you fitted into the Mess and of course how you interacted with the soldiers that you might shortly be leading. It all counts, as does a general performance report from RMAS, as does how well you interview with the Board on the day. The more leg work you put in before you go, and how strongly you emphasise to the Regiment that you are committed to them then I suspect that it will pay dividends. Good luck.
  11. It depends whether you now don't want to go to the Regiment that interviewed you.

    The system used to decree that a Regiment sponsor you through the RCB process and up to the front gates of Sandhurst - their claim on you then fell away until choice of arm time when obviously if you still wanted to go to them then they would have your info and presumably like you (having sponsored you in the past).

    I was sponsored by REME (I did an Engineering degree), but knew I wanted to go Gunners. Gunners recommended I did not change sponsorship before Sandhurst (unecessary paperwork), but just make my preference known at Choice of Arm time. I duly became a Gunner.

    So, the Regiment who think you're a top bloke and have seen you and want you cannot make you go there if you dont want to, but it is nice to have them as a fall back if YOUR first choice falls through - clearing isn't a fun experience I imagine!
  12. RSBs, as I said previously, sit in the first two weeks of the third term, and have done for a couple of years now.

    D_S is right about sponsorship - the Regiment sponsoring you lose their claim as you walk through the gates, and will have no further contact with you until you have the opportunity to be introduced formally to the full range of options, and to select your choices. These will be reduced from four to two by week eight, and you'll then carry on through various visits and social events until the RSBs, when you'll have to make a firm decision.

    There are one or two oddities and variations, but the finer points will all be explained at the Pre-Commissioning Course Briefing Course (PCCBC), and as you begin the Choice of Arm procedure in term one.

    Visits pre-RMAS are always good, and you should try to do as many as you can. If you are sold on one choice, then stay in touch with them - they will want to know as much about you as possible on which to base their decision.

    It's worth noting that, in the true spirit of the British Army, no two Regiments or Corps approach this process in the same way. Different organisations will run their RSBs in different ways, ask you different questions, be represented by different personalities, and place different weight on the feedback from visits and RMAS staff.

    Some will give you the 'nod' weeks before the RSB, some will make you sweat in a challenging interview. That's part of the fun!
  13. For what it's worth, I fully support the view that you should go on as many potential officer visits as possible in order to see as many parts of the army (that you might possibly be interested in) as possible. Generally you won't get this opportunity once at Sandhurst.

    Exrivofrigido is absolutely correct in pointing out that different regiments prefer to select their officers in slightly different ways. I may be a little out of date here, but when I was at Sandhurst there were some regiments and corps who selected officers solely on the basis of their Sandhurst reports to that point and the performance of the OCdt at interview. Others (esp. cavalry, some foot guards and some county infantry regiments) preferred to load emphasis on potential officer visits (i.e. how well the individual got on with the serving members of the regiment, officers and soldiers). A lot of this had to do with how well subscribed the regiment in question was that year.

    Regiments and corps will naturally try to fill officer recruiting quotas (normally about 4 per regiment/battalion), but will not normally drop below their own percieved minimum quality threshold to do so. It has been known for quotas to be stretched (by agreement between Regimental Colonels and Arms and Service Directors) but this was always exceptional and may not happen at all any more. The quotas are set in order to ensure the required balance of officer manning, including in the less popular choices of cap-badge at Sandhurst.
  14. which are (in your opinion) the less popular capbadges?

    talk to me
  15. Not just my opinion. Fact, there are some regiments and corps that are more popular than others (what a shocker!!)

    When I was at Sandhurst the AMS and RLC (among others, including a couple of infantry regiments) were undersubscribed, but that certainly doesn't mean that they are now. Someone approaching the end of Sandhurst at the moment will be able to tell you which are and which are not popular choices at the moment. Rest assured that PARA, RGR, (and probably HCR at the moment!), will almost always be oversubscribed.

    The key point is that regardless of the appeal of a particular arm or service, all need sufficient quality officers in order for the army as a whole to operate effectively. Although of course officers from the teeth arms are far more likely to find themselves in contact on the sort of operations we are currently engaged in, officers from other parts of the army are certainly not exempt; therefore all must also be sufficiently capable.