Joining as a soldier and going on to be an officer due to 2 year deferment at AOSB Briefing

Hello all!

As a bit of background, I'm 19 years old and have got the required amount of ALIS and UCAS points from my GCSEs and A Levels respectively to become an officer.

It has been a month or so since I had my AOSB Briefing, after which I got a CAT 2 and a 2 year deferment.

A couple days later I get a call from a recruitment guy at Westbury, specialising in those who get big deferments and those who fail Briefing.

He tells me that I can join the army as a soldier (don't need to do soldier selection as my AOSB Briefing counts as soldier selection) and after 2 - 3 years I can take this course called PODCs (Potential Officer Development Course), which if I pass will get me a reserve seat for Sandhurst.

However, I've been reading through ARRSE and I've been given some cause for concern, particularly after reading a thread called 'Wannabe Officer'.

So to my question. Is joining the army as a regular soldier to plug the gap of my two year deferment a good idea? Or is it a bureaucratic nightmare that I'm unwittingly walking right into?
Furthermore, do certain regiments put more people forward to officer training than others (or are more likely to)? Are some less likely to do so? Are there any statistics on this?

Any and all information is much appreciated. Thank you!
 

oppoStu

War Hero
I passed AOSB briefing, juuust failed main board but still had to attend Assessment Centre for soldier selection to get into the Reserves.... so unless that's changed in the last year, I certainly wouldn't believe everything you hear from recruiters. The PODC is correct though once you're in, NCOs are very supportive with those interested.

It's always easier to take the direct route. If you have the option for direct entry, just take it instead of faffing about. This was advice I received when I was thinking a similar thing a couple years back.

Good luck with whatever direction you go in.
 

oppoStu

War Hero
...if you do decide to fill the 2 year gap with soldiering, you're better off joining the Reserves then attending your next AOSB when you can. Less bureaucratic stuff.
 
This is a decision you will have to make based on talking to people, not just recruiters and officers. If it works out that way I would be delighted for you, but and its a big BUT as things don't go necessary work out that way in the Army.
As a Pl Cmdr way back we had an O Type (Potential officer entry course) who failed the RCB and came to us - an Infantry Bn as a Jock, he proved himself but by heck he worked. He was subsequently after an op tour sent to RMAS and went onto become a good officer.
More recently my son went that route after taking a degree and getting the deferred 2 year option, he joined as a soldier and went Light Recce as a Trooper unfortunately an afghan bullet put paid to his choice of Army Air Corps and he did 5 years in light then heavy armour before pulling the rip cord.
So if you go private soldier be selective as to who you join, make sure they have a track record in getting people through the ranks.
Keep your nose clean and play your cards very close to your chest.
Be prepared to work and still work!!!
Best wishes.
 
I'd agree with the above, but look carefully at what your development areas highlighted by AOSB are. You may be better off getting some wider life experience, maybe civilian work, (post-COVID) travel and work around different parts of the world or going to university. Broaden your experience and outlook. Joining the reserves is an option, but I'd combine it with gaining wider life experience.
 

oppoStu

War Hero
If you do go to university as @Richard_Hannay suggested, depending on the university, you will have access to the UOTC which is the University Officer's Training Corps. Perfect for preparing for your AOSB main board.
 
I'd agree with the above, but look carefully at what your development areas highlighted by AOSB are. You may be better off getting some wider life experience, maybe civilian work, (post-COVID) travel and work around different parts of the world or going to university. Broaden your experience and outlook. Joining the reserves is an option, but I'd combine it with gaining wider life experience.

Thank you (and everyone else) for your response.

My results said, based on my 2 minute speech, that I needed more social development for appearing 'somewhat nervous'. Not terribly surprising given I've been stuck inside for the better part of a year.

I was thinking of a role with ceremonial duties to help gain a bit more confidence in 'group situations' as well as the team work behind the scenes.

If you do go to university as @Richard_Hannay suggested, depending on the university, you will have access to the UOTC which is the University Officer's Training Corps. Perfect for preparing for your AOSB main board.

That does sound good though the big debt that comes with it sounds less fantastic. Beyond UOTC though I don't really see what I'd be doing it for.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
I'd go with the university ploy and use either the UOTC or AR as a three-year training programme. Joining as a soldier with a view to commissioning, as @pimpernel notes, is not just the hard way, but also slightly risky as it relies upon your chain of command getting behind you in your aspiration. Most will, a few won't and it's near impossible to predict - the sad reality is that much of this, despite there being mature processes in place, is dependent upon personalities and it only needs one obstructive ******** to trash the whole thing.

Three years at university will be fun. I wish I'd gone, although being a non-grad has actually made zero difference to my Service and post-Service careers.
 
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Thank you (and everyone else) for your response.

My results said, based on my 2 minute speech, that I needed more social development for appearing 'somewhat nervous'. Not terribly surprising given I've been stuck inside for the better part of a year.

I was thinking of a role with ceremonial duties to help gain a bit more confidence in 'group situations' as well as the team work behind the scenes.



That does sound good though the big debt that comes with it sounds less fantastic. Beyond UOTC though I don't really see what I'd be doing it for.
Ceremonial duties won't give you the confidence in group situations. It will help you survive the early stages of RMAS, but unless you are doing the shouty stuff it will but make you an automaton.
Go for a role where you are out the front, involved in training or in specialist stuff and make it exciting. This is an opportunity to enjoy yourself after being banged up for a year.
 

oppoStu

War Hero
That does sound good though the big debt that comes with it sounds less fantastic. Beyond UOTC though I don't really see what I'd be doing it for.

Based on the fact you have to wait 2 years anyway, you can get a free degree. They're called Degree Apprenticeships. Big firms in all industry sectors offer them, and you may still be good on time as most intakes are September start.

That way you get 3-4 years on the job training in whatever interests you, a BA or BSc and whilst at uni you can join the UOTC. Get your degree, work another year so you don't have to pay it back. Apply for AOSB with your new found real-world experience and UOTC training, Bob's your uncle.

You'll be the prime age for a new officer cadet.
 
Ceremonial duties won't give you the confidence in group situations. It will help you survive the early stages of RMAS, but unless you are doing the shouty stuff it will but make you an automaton.
Go for a role where you are out the front, involved in training or in specialist stuff and make it exciting. This is an opportunity to enjoy yourself after being banged up for a year.

I've actually already said the Grenadier Guards (it seemed a good idea at the time XD) though I'm pretty sure I can change. Perhaps the Rifles? What would you recommend?

Based on the fact you have to wait 2 years anyway, you can get a free degree. They're called Degree Apprenticeships. Big firms in all industry sectors offer them, and you may still be good on time as most intakes are September start.

That way you get 3-4 years on the job training in whatever interests you, a BA or BSc and whilst at uni you can join the UOTC. Get your degree, work another year so you don't have to pay it back. Apply for AOSB with your new found real-world experience and UOTC training, Bob's your uncle.

You'll be the prime age for a new officer cadet.

That actually sounds like a really good idea! Hadn't thought of it. I'll certainly put that option under consideration!
 

The_Poltroon

Old-Salt
You sound switched on, organised and from the way you structure your posts you are clearly a literate person.

You are probably over qualified to become an officer.
 
University.

1. It teaches you how to approach a question, research, write well thought out research and factual documents.
2. It will teach you a lot about life, the universe, socialising, shagging, meeting people and becoming self sufficient.
3. Yes it costs money. Get yourself a part time job.
4. Join UOTC, or the army reserve (AR)............you'll earn some dosh with the AR and you could go do something interesting like EOD, or the paras, get some wings, travel a bit at the Queens expense.

TBH. I actually found the officers who had done something before joining the army a damn sight more rounded and interesting. Think about it; finish school, join the army............what life experience have you had?

With a 2 year deferment I think they are looking for you to go and get some breadth and experience under your belt.

As for spurious recruiters calling up feeding you a line; hit the ignore button he is after easy prey.
 
If you join as a Soldier you have the extra hurdle of PODC, and the admin of going through the transfer application - All doable, but extra hurdles.

If you didn't, what would you want to do to develop yourself and get life experience before going to AOSB Main Board and RMAS? Once you've worked that out - do that.

I'd recommend the Reserves to keep your hand in.

If you go to University then 100% join a UOTC. Also UOTCs have been taking on people over 18 but on a gap year due to COVID delaying University Entry so you could always do that.

Also if you join a Reserve unit as a Potential Officer (AOSB Briefing Pass with your delay) they should allow you to attend UOTC training anyway. University student or not.
 
If you join as a Soldier you have the extra hurdle of PODC, and the admin of going through the transfer application - All doable, but extra hurdles.

If you didn't, what would you want to do to develop yourself and get life experience before going to AOSB Main Board and RMAS? Once you've worked that out - do that.

I'd recommend the Reserves to keep your hand in.

If you go to University then 100% join a UOTC. Also UOTCs have been taking on people over 18 but on a gap year due to COVID delaying University Entry so you could always do that.

Also if you join a Reserve unit as a Potential Officer (AOSB Briefing Pass with your delay) they should allow you to attend UOTC training anyway. University student or not.
While the advice in your final paragraph is the official position, it is increasingly difficult to make happen.

I am not going into details here, but I would advise joining the OTC if you are at uni and looking to commission...
 

Mattb

LE
Ceremonial duties won't give you the confidence in group situations. It will help you survive the early stages of RMAS, but unless you are doing the shouty stuff it will but make you an automaton.
Go for a role where you are out the front, involved in training or in specialist stuff and make it exciting. This is an opportunity to enjoy yourself after being banged up for a year.
Indeed - possibly also an option to do some of the more “warry” stuff before “settling down” in something a bit more technical (and potentially with greater post-service career relevance).

One of my friends is an RN officer who joined 4PARA during uni, just to sort of “get it out of his system”.
 
As with the answers above I'd recommend university, though chose carefully, I wasted two years getting drunk and shagging fat women by choosing the wrong course in the wrong place, but that's another story (come to think of it, that's pretty much how I spent the early years of my army career at least until I met the young WRAC L/Cpl who was destined to become Mrs Devex but I digress). I later finished my degree with the OU.

You must be reasonably bright, so if you do go down the soldier route then again chose wisely. You might be bored in a job that doesn't challenge you intellectually. Depending on your university route, look at AR rather than UOTC. The latter has something of a poor rep as for every serious soldier there are hooray types and folk of all genders looking to use it as a dating swap-shop. Ideally, though I am somewhat biased (and I'm surprised @Glad_its_all_over didn't mention it) I'd recommend the Int Corps Reserves. You meet some very clever people, realise that clever and common sense don't alway go hand in hand. At the end of your course you would have the best of all worlds - An Army Reserve trade to continue alongside a civi career if you've discovered something at Uni you really want to follow, a foot into the Int world as a regular, either officer or soldier (there are plenty of Int Corps soldiers with degrees and plenty without) or as an officer in another cap-badge.
 
Thank you (and everyone else) for your response.

My results said, based on my 2 minute speech, that I needed more social development for appearing 'somewhat nervous'. Not terribly surprising given I've been stuck inside for the better part of a year.

I was thinking of a role with ceremonial duties to help gain a bit more confidence in 'group situations' as well as the team work behind the scenes.



That does sound good though the big debt that comes with it sounds less fantastic. Beyond UOTC though I don't really see what I'd be doing it for.

You'll find some degree courses will work on this - my undergrad had a lot of assessments in the form of presentations. This is a skill and one that can be worked on.

Alternatively, I've even heard of people going as far as joining their local theatre group etc, to get used to public speaking.
 

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