Future of the OTCs

#4
Said it before: this is one to be cut, given the climate. My University campus doesn't have access to an OTC, so I joined the TA instead. If it did have one, I might well have joined it instead (with no more or less intention of going regular after graduation).

Most of the people I know who do it at other universities are being paid to do something that means they don't need to get a summer/weekend job, and would have joined the TA during uni if it was absent. I've never met anyone who was uninterested in the Army at school, joined the OTC and pursued a regular career. I think there's a lot of waste if it's regarded as a recruiting tool.
 
#5
The OTC review is pretty much complete now, so results soon, I honestly don't think the output justifies the spend right now (but). Now, as part of the pipeline - they can and do work but the problem is getting people into the pipeline who wouldn't otherwise be joining HMA anyhow.
 
#6
The plan is for the officer training wing of RTCs to merge with OTC and handle officer training for the whole TA. First year OTC will be a bit more like a look at life course, with lots of AT and critically not part of the Army(OCDTs are part of the TA at the moment). They will not be paid, but may receive some kind of bonus for completion of the training. Second and third years will be about commissioning(MOD2/MOD3), and an interest in commissioning will be required.
Some OTC's will be shut down and others merged (Manchester and Liverpool have been merged for example). Almost every OTC will have some kind of Change, with only the largest remaining as they currently stand.
There are still some aspects to be ironed out, most importantly IMHO uniformity of training (which is currently very poor).
In the round though i think a good idea.

As for the results of the OTC, i would say that the quantity of TA officers turned out by the OTC is not completely their fault. TA officers are seen to be just handling paperwork and training for a role they will never deploy in, and until something is done more broadly about TA YO's in general i don't think the situation will improve.
 
#7
So why not allow the OTCs to support the TAPOs coming from the units too? And perhaps a prep role for those going on to to Reg commision?

Likewise why not open up a route that allows OCdts going to the TA to serve FTRS for a stint as a YO? ANd ensure that they know that they will be able to volunteer again if they wish.

What of the Professional Officers? Getting them in at OTC would put some flesh on the bones of the course that they do.

Change is long overdue. It is an awesome experience in anyones books, but many seem to join purely to pad out the CV and go skiing.

The perceived benefits such as 'Recognition of the Armys tasks' don't seem to really justify the cost either.

Could the OTC start running, in conjunction with a student based look at life, the executive stretch programmes? and perhaps some other perks for bosses/movers and shakers of various companies?

None of this 'planting the seed' b0llocks. Just go straight in at the top and deliver a premptive strike on the management. 'This is what you get froma TA soldier/officer do you want to be one?, would you allow one of your minions to be one?'
 
#8
The OTC will support TAPO from other TA units, from around 2012 they will be under the direct control of Sandhurst and handling all officer training in the TA.

Your other points make sense, and i know that Birmingham has run "Executive Stretch" for a number of years. They have also recently introduced a "Student Stretch", based along the same idea but with students(sports teams especially). It seems as though this concept will be moved out across other OTC's.
 
#9
To be fair to the OTCs (As ever some are good, some bad, some indifferent) they were never intended to be a recruiting tool for the TA or Regular Army. That is often a spin off and also a means of staying in touch with people who gained an interest in the Army at school, while they are at Uni. The time is right to question what value the Army gets out of them, unfortunately it is difficult to quantify. I can think of at least 2 headline articles in the last month that pertain to people who, thanks to their membership of the OTC, have been in a postion to, and more importantly have, supported the Army directly.
 
#10
To be fair to the OTCs (As ever some are good, some bad, some indifferent) they were never intended to be a recruiting tool for the TA or Regular Army. That is often a spin off and also a means of staying in touch with people who gained an interest in the Army at school, while they are at Uni. The time is right to question what value the Army gets out of them, unfortunately it is difficult to quantify. I can think of at least 2 headline articles in the last month that pertain to people who, thanks to their membership of the OTC, have been in a postion to, and more importantly have, supported the Army directly.
I take the general point, but I suspect "never intended to be a recruiting tool for the TA or Regular Army" is incorrect. I stand to be corrected on the detail, but up to 1939 or maybe the end of National Service or later, that was exactly their purpose.

Also, don't forget that upto the late 70s(?) before the introduction of SGC and SMC, graduate officers only attended a short course at Sandhurst and they did so with probationary commissions wearing their sponsor regiments uniform. I would guess that up to this time UOTCs had some remit in their training at university.

So, the current (last 30 years ish) AIS purpose of UOTCs is relatively new and was bought about partly, I suspect, to continue the university sponsorship of UOTCs (the MECs and the like) at a time when the military was distinctly unpopular on campuses.

Its definitely time for change and to better align the UOTCs with TA officer selection and training. A first year of unpaid leadership development along O Type / OB lines would be an excellent move.

I missed the two examples quoted - what were they?
 
#11
RH. You make fair points but if the Army is serious about OTCs being about training people to become officers/soldiers then they will need to change radically. However I do not believe that this is the case. Yes if you go back far enough you may find a precedent but that is not the case now nor has been for a while. OTC should not be a surrogate or replacement for RMAS. A second order effect could certainly be the preparation of TAPOs - this is something that happened when I went through an OTC both as a student and as Permanent Staff and was quite effective - however it was not the raison d'etre.

WRT the 2 cases - I am not going to name names but I am sure you could find many examples of where nurturing people at OTC, whether to join the Army or not, has directly benefitted the Army.
 
#12
If they are 'headline articles' then they should already be in the public domain...

If the value can't be quantified, the output certainly can.

msr
 
#13
They mention names certainly - however I don't want to drag up all the training / jumping through hoops / encouragement etc that had to happen to prove (a) to the Army that the individual(s) were a good bet and (b) to the individual that they had certain things to offer the Army. Neither things impact upon what they are doing now. A bit legal I know but if you don't accept what I have said as a representation of how, intangibly, OTCs add value, then I am not going to lose sleep over it.
 
#14
I don't doubt there is some value being added, but is it in proportion to the cost of the OTCs and their dismally low conversion rates?
 
#15
I don't doubt there is some value being added, but is it in proportion to the cost of the OTCs and their dismally low conversion rates?
And the substandard quality of some of the Officers who transfer over with a "holier-than-though" attitude that they are "leaders of men", not just students wearing a Pip who have done a buckshee 3 week course.

Thats without even mentioning the waste of money, time and effort that is OTC 2Lt's that transfer to the TA, and then depart for the Regular Army after a few months at the next Sandhurst intake.

The TA should seek to nurture what it has in the ranks as officers and make the aspect of commissioning appealing, not simply packing 2nd Lts into slots to keep up the appearance that all is well with regards the number of YO's in the TA.

And with the advanced average age of many TA messes, commissioning into a Regiment to stay there simply isn't that appealing to most.
 
#16
The OTC was always going to be vulnerable in the current climate and rightly so.
However, with respect to the question of recruitment into the Regular Army or the TA, has any attempt been made to quantify how many of the current crop of Officers benefitted from a 2 or 3 year stint with an OTC whilst at Uni? I suspect it is not insignificant.
Many moons ago I was the R SIGNALS WO PSI at an OTC based in the midlands (narrows it down a bit!) and I know of at least two current (Regular) Commanding Officers and a number of Majors who were at the unit at the time. I don't take any credit whatsoever for the fact that they have subsequently had successful careers, but I believe in a small way it illustrates the value of OTC's.
That said, there were also a significant number of time wasters and spackers. Much like most other units in the Regs and TA then?
 
#17
What a wonderful chance for a spot of commonsense to break out.
1 Bin OTC, students don't need any help to lay around getting drunk.
2 Encourage Potential officers to do useful hard subject at Uni- languages, engineering, courses without words like "and" and "studies" in them.
3 Potential officers to join local TA unit as recruits and get a good look at the profession of arms from the unvarnished end, hopefully an Operational tour as a grunt instead of an gap year on the piss.
4 The Biggy. WWI style officer selection binned. Everyone joins and does Basic together, hence the name "basic". The MoD can then select the cream of the crop after a good few months of hard testing.
5 Str8bloke gets off the glue and realises that commonsense will never happen, and that the real purpose of the army is to give thick rich kids a job.
 
#18
I've heard that OTC's lost their pay but were being given it back beggining this year, I'm unsure whether they are classed as a form of TA or just a glorified form of cadets for uni students...
 
#19
I've heard that OTC's lost their pay but were being given it back beggining this year, I'm unsure whether they are classed as a form of TA or just a glorified form of cadets for uni students...
They are a TA Type B unit. TA, but unavailable for active service. The same type as the ACF/CCF officers, who get Type B TA commisions.
 
#20
The OTC was always going to be vulnerable in the current climate and rightly so.
However, with respect to the question of recruitment into the Regular Army or the TA, has any attempt been made to quantify how many of the current crop of Officers benefitted from a 2 or 3 year stint with an OTC whilst at Uni? I suspect it is not insignificant.
Many moons ago I was the R SIGNALS WO PSI at an OTC based in the midlands (narrows it down a bit!) and I know of at least two current (Regular) Commanding Officers and a number of Majors who were at the unit at the time. I don't take any credit whatsoever for the fact that they have subsequently had successful careers, but I believe in a small way it illustrates the value of OTC's.
That said, there were also a significant number of time wasters and spackers. Much like most other units in the Regs and TA then?
So for the amount of cash spunked in to this OTC in the Midlands we got a slack handful of top notch Majors and a couple of Lt Cols...

Surely a fourth term at RMAS for the possible thrusters or those who need a bit of extra training (we could call it PODC or RowCo) would be more cost effective than giving a bunch of time wasters and spackers the best three years of hteir lives aswell.

I think the main problem with the OTC is that people look back at it with Rose tinted specs, and are keen to keep as it was. Similar to the National Parks of North Wales, with absolutely no consideration for the changing climate, environment and technology/skills around them.
 

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