Going to the TA as PSI / RSM? This might help....

I've spent a bit of time with a TA regiment and thought that I'd pass on my views borne of experience. The idea is that it took me some time to figure this stuff out, and it may help stop some people from rocking up and acting a complete tool.

1. Remember the blokes are volunteers.
If they do not want to turn up, they wont. The usual reasons for this include pump / no training programme, rather than just a weekend of rain.

2. They are (usually ) adults.
If you treat them as incompetent tw@ts, they will rapidly lose interest and act as incompetent tw@ts. Treat them as grownups: they may well be better educated than you and some of them will hold very, very responsible jobs. The Jock you are looking at might earn more than your CO. The average age of the TA squaddie is older than that of the Regs, so they have seen a bit more of life and can spot a bullshitter very quickly.

3. You are there to advise.
You have the Regular service, they are ( generally ) willing listeners ready and keen to learn. There is a fine line between advising and taking over - its their train set: help out when you can but do not take over - the JNCOs / SNCOs will just resent it.

4. You will get the results you deserve.
Generally, unless the TM / OC is a complete tool stomping on your creative training ideas.

5. Keep the chain of command informed.
They have jobs outside of the TA - they need to plan ahead. Email / text can be very, very useful within security limitations.

6. Their civilian job comes first.
Thats the way it is. You will not change it: accept it.

7. They may not be as fit as a Regular unit.
Exceptions of course, but on the whole they do not have time for programmed phys monday to friday - unlike you.

8. Maintain your standards.
If you swan off & getting fat and lazy they will notice. Be an example in your appearance and conduct - you are their main point of contact with the Regular Army.

9. ENSURE their course bids get submitted - and they know what courses they can do.

10. If they have a Dining Out / Dinner Night and you are not invited
Thats a Combat Indicator that they dont like you. And that is your fault.

11. They will have their own traditions - respect them. Do not try to impose *your* regimental traditions on them. If Seniors call each other by their first names, thats the way it is.

12. You will be there for two years
And then you will be gone. Remember that, they will.

13. Enjoy it.

13. Remember the blokes are volunteers.
Wow. HarrySmith95th THANK YOU.

I shall copy this into the Retention subforum of Just TA in defence of the PSI.

A point of yours I would like to expand on:

HarrySmith95th said:
12. You will be there for two years
And then you will be gone. Remember that, they will.
If it's been a good tour they will look forward to you coming back as RSM (I know my PSI when I was Ops Offr made that step and well deserved it was too). If it's been a final tour &/or you are retiring as RSM then if you've been good they will look forward to you coming back as a TA LE Offr, an increasingly common transition.

Or worst case scenario: if it's a final tour and you just want out of green - good guys get offered good jobs, bad guys don't ;)
Should be written up as a TAM insert. And certainly worth framing.
Been there and done that and thta post sums it up to a T. On my arrival on first drill night wondered what the f***k had hit me, took me a couple of months to realise most of the above points. Then it was fun and I really enjoyed myself, also with the TA being civileans first they are always willing to help you if you need there civil skills. When i left it was a very emotional dining out and to this day the gifts are still on proud display
From a TA side of the fence you are absolutely spot on! I have seen a fair number of PSIs pass through my platoon and coy over the years and for nearly all of them I am certain they would leave after their 2 years making the same points as you have.
The first couple of months are always the same too, just as it is for any new job though.

One thing I might add to the list though is to realise that for some TA soldiers the TA is their first career, for others their second career, for others a hobby, and for others a source of cash, but don't worry too much about who has what reason because it doesn't matter.

Well done Harry! From the experience I had working with the TA I would say you are just about spot on. Good post.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Good post

But I do feel that some TA require familiarising with the regular Army before completing Op Tours ect. Because it isn’t generally as laid back you don’t have time to teach core skills.

Please note I said some!

This said, for work within a TA unit, I think the ethos stated is about right.

Excellent post - I also agree that this needs framing and hung in the offices of all Regular Permament Staff office as a gentle reminder to the present incumbent and a guide to their incoming replacement.

I particulary concur with the point about not tampering with the units traditions - my old unit was in North London and as you can see from my avatar we were the direct descendents of the Middlesex Regiment. About 15 years ago a PSI from 3 Queens began painting everything in the TA Centre orange as his battalion were the successors to the Royal Sussex Regiment - he got the message when we repainted his efforts back to the orginal colours.
I'd like to make a small addition to this list, based on something I heard recently.

If your Regiment has just been formed as a result of a merger between various capbadges and you have a Summer Ball booked, remember that the Mess Members may well have just spent up to £500 on their shiny new Mess Kit, and will be looking forwards to wearing it for the first time.

Partners, wives etc will also likely have splashed out on a new posh frock.

If, on the tuesday before the do you change the Dress Code to, say, Cowboys and Indians, expect a lot of no-shows ( and some very hacked off Mess members and their wives.)

You need to communicate well in advance. The blokes may not turn up to their TACs for a month; use Vodaphone Rapide, or email for non-secure stuff.
Good advice not only for new PSI's but for Ex Regs joining the TA.

Having served in 2 & 3 RGJ before joining 4(V)RGJ as a civvy I could have used that advice when joining the TA. Would have saved me a few months of heartache.

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