commission or courses?

just after some advice, i am currently in the TA and at uni, with the aim of going reg officer after, what would be better, doing loads of courses to get some military and useful non-military qualifications, or go for a commission while im in the TA. I've already thought about joining the OTC, and thought it was a bit watered down, but if i go for a commission it would be the TASO route, essentially staying in the TA and doing it through OTC. Your advice please
Without trying to sway you in any particular direction...

Your ability to do "loads of courses" may be dependent on the following:
1. Pre qualification. If you're starting university, I'd guess you're also a newcomer to the TA and maybe won't have the experience required to attend some courses.
2. Course availablity. Often, more people want to go on courses than there are places available. Places tend to be allocated according to unit need rather than personal desire. You may be lucky, but if you have advertised that you intend to go Regular, you may find that you're not very high in the pecking order.
3. Course duration and dates. These may not fit in with your studies. Consider your priorities carefully.
4. Cutbacks. Given the recent financial cuts to the TA, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that some courses get chopped.

It's your future career that's at stake. Make a plan, a back-up plan and choose a route that fits both and remains flexible for the duration of your time at university.
Just my 2p worth (although with the cuts it will be my 0.5p worth :) ).

I would join the OTC rather than stay in the TA. The OTC syllabus is tailored around your uni course and doesn't put you under pressure to do TA stuff when you least need it (e.g. finals). The priority is getting your degree. If you are going to go Regular, you start at Sandhurst as an officer cadet anyway. Why bother getting a TA commission in the meantime? Given the time it takes to go through the officer training, you might not have a TA commission for long before you have to hand it back at the RMAS gates!

You will probably find some OTC mates will be in your intake at Sandhurst anyway.

However, if you decide not to go Regular, disregard the above, stay in the TA and go for a Group A commission. We need more YOs!
OTC while not as hard core is taliored to university life and officer training sort of.
better bet than being in the ta if your serious about being a regualr officer.
your not going to get on loads of course's as your a nig and hav'nt done a tour unable to do one as a student got your 3 feathers yet :twisted:
All good advise so far, but just to give a different slant to things !!!

I have a young officer in my Sqn who had exactly the same goals, i.e. to seek a regular commission upon leaving Uni, he tried both the UOTC and TASO routes, and found he was not getting anywhere fast.

The YO returned to the Sqn and conducted his PO training within the Bde setup, commissioning around 1 year ago, with a view to a regular commission next year.

Key Points:

1) Someone in the Sqn needs to understand that students have other pressing priorities and manage any pressure placed upon an individual.

2) Being part of the Sqn allowed some flexibility, resulting in some additional and gainful employment during breaks form Uni. (OK, so a bit of a flawed plan in this climate!)

3) Taking the TA commission and all that this entailed has had a huge impact upon the personal development of this individual, he grew up before my very eyes, and in my view will be in a better place when taking the regular commission.

4) This YOs CV looks hugely impressive already, i.e. 1st Class Degree, and a TA Commission demonstrates a high level of dedication and self discipline to any future employer.

It is very much a case of you pays your money you take your chances, my way will only work in a truly supportive and understanding unit, whereas the UOTC route has the support mechanisms but will not necessarily help as much in terms of personal development.

Your decision, but good luck which ever route you go down.
thanks for all the advice. If i did go down the officer route, it would be the TASO one, meaning i do my commision through UOTC, meaning fitting the training around uni would not be too much of a problem. I also thought actually going for a commission would help me for when i go for my regular commission. I have some friends in UOTC and the UAS, but so far i have not seen it as too appealling compared to what i get to do with my unit, as in it seems more lesson based and theory rather than doing.
It will be interesting to see how many people are allowed to be pushed down the TASO route in the coming year, who are not committed to a long term TA commision.

Financially it does not make sense to train someone to pass a course when they are going to give up the "qualification" in a years time and do the regular course again. With the current restrictions on MTDs this is going to be a real issue.

I am aware of a couple of OTCs who are looking really carefully at who they put forward for the TA Commisioning courses ( Module 3 and the Sandhurst bit). The focus being on people who need it long term for the TA not on those just seeking to get a pip for a year before going regular.

If you are definetly planning to go regular you should also think about the option of actually enjoying yourself at university. You will do enough hard stuff when you get to Sandhurst and on subsequent courses and appointments (in Afghanistan). Doing some fun adventure training and getting some AT qualifications is always a good idea. You might well not get paid for this at the moment but will still be able to do it on duty as Cat C1 training.
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