Joining TA - too old to be an officer at 28?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by looktowindward, Jun 8, 2005.

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  1. Hi, as you can probably guess from the post I'm new here.


    After nearly joining the armed forces twice (Once when 16 or 17, put off it by the RAF recruiter that clearly didn't want to be talking to spotty oiks at school and once a few years later), I recently decided that as I've just turned 28 it might be a good idea to do something about it pretty effing soon or it's not going to happen, so I've been looking into joining the TA.

    I'll mention my skills as they're relevant - IT, but particularly networking - I'm pretty much at the top of my career in networking technical terms (CCIE for those who know the industry) which is part of the reason for wanting to join the TA - more of a challenge.

    Looked online at the various web sites but the information there is sparse. Filled in the online form... well, what do I want to do. Originally I was thinking specialist but I didn't know I could apply to join as an officer nowadays (That's new) but as that's what I'd have signed up as if I'd joined the regular army looks interesting - something to tax my brain. (And the leadership training wouldn't go amiss career-wise either)

    On the online form, I can apply for only one of Soldier, Officer or Specialist. Really I don't mind too much and I want one of the latter two but that's not an option so I just selected officer and listed I had IT skills. (Could choose either IT or Communications but not both... but I figured "Communications" in the armed forces is more radios than computer networking so I chose IT instead.)

    Got a glossy "Territorial Army Officer" brochure through which actually didn't put me off at all as I thought it might - quite the oppoise. Also had a letter from 70 Signal Squadron and also E Coy, East of England Regiment asking me to ring up/pop in on their training evenings for more information. (Both are my nearest two units)


    I then got another letter from E Coy saying that the age limit for joining as an officer is 26. (Everything else I've seen says it's 30) Not sure if this is an E Coy thing, an EER thing or just a TA thing - I guess from the fact that the central recruiting place didn't tell me to go away right at the start that this is some sort of EER or E Coy limit?

    The letter does then go on about officers having to join as a private and then get officer training when they're ready, whereas all the other stuff I have says you join as an officer cadet (I.e. I guess you make the tea) and then move up when you're ready. (Or get kicked out as unsuitable) I'm not sure if this is just what happens if you're over 26 however, it would imply that it applies to everyone why bother telling me if I'm too old anyway.

    The East Anglia Reserve Forces Association also sent me some officer-related stuff, but of course they may not have checked my age.

    Now having read some of the other stuff I've been sent I'm also in two minds about joining as a non-officer specialist. It looks like most of the people joining up as specialist from what I've read are pretty young - I don't know how the Army handles such things but I can imagine it's going to cause problems with someone at my level being lowest of the low when I'll probably be one of the most qualified people about technically.... or is that not likely to be an issue? The only thing I know about joining as a specalist officer is that it's got it's own 60 second bit on the TA DVD I was sent. (Out of 45 mins or so of stuff on the DVD)

    Am I too old for this officer stuff at 28 and am I wasting my time by looking? If so, I could start looking further afield at some of the (apparently, again information is thin on the ground) more highly specialist units. (E.g. LIAG(V) looks like it might need more specialist skills, but they don't reply to EMails so it possibly means ringing them up to find out when they're open followed by a trek down there one evening. 81 Signal Sqn also popped up a couple of times during my searches.) On the other hand, there's the one evening a week - if I did something further afield I'd not be able to go to them eaisly and I gather they're pretty much a requirement or an expectation.... is it different for specalist units as they recruit from UK-wide? (I know the weekend training requirement is lower for specalists)

    I'm planning to pop down to 71 Signal Squadron next week on their training evening (Their letter asked me to do so) to talk to a recruiter there but I'm starting to get the same impression (Maybe unfairly) about the TA recruiters as the regular armed forces recruiters last two times I looked - quite a few of them really don't seem to want to be doing the job and much of the information you get is at least on the surface directly contradictory. I figured after asking a few people I knew in the regular armed forces that the best thing to do was to ask people already in the TA... and this site seems the best place to do it. :)

    Sorry, that's a bit long. I'm just not sure I'm going about this the right way, should I just be ringing up all the units that look like they might be interested and seeing what they have to say rather than going through the central process? As I'm not sure what I want to/would be allowed to do, turning up at random units for a chat at this stage seems almost a waste of time.

    Random flames welcome, I'm in that sort of mood. :) Or, if anyone knows a specalist unit not too far from Chelmsford, Essex that I might be interested in feel free to let me know.
  2. No your not to old.

    81 Sigs Sqn is mainly comms infrastructure, LIAG(V) are after IT security people (I think they are all officers) but Sigs CVHQ are setting up a IS Specialist pool shortly (<1 years???). These CVHQ units don't train mid week just the odd weekend every now and again. If you fancy one of these - maybe try ur local sigs units first, if the times too much and/or not taxing enough - then try LIAG

    Maybe try posting on the sigs forum, a number of LIAG are knocking around this site
  3. There's also dispensation if things take a little longer than you thought. I know a few people quite a bit older than you going through the system :)
  4. Thanks. Does it make sense to approach the local unit first (Given it's all Royal Signals) - will they know what LIAG(V), CVHG and other such groups are up to or are they only concerned with local recruitment?
  5. Jeeeeeeeee-sus! You either want to do this or you don't. If you do, go to these meetings with the recruiters and explain your situation. If there are problems, find out what they are and then come back here, and it is possible that someone may be able to help you.

    But it reads to me like you are trying to talk yourself out of joining the TA, and frankly if you aren't fully committed, I doubt anyone will be interested.
  6. The maximum age for commissioning used to be 26 several years ago, but it has been increased. You now need to be under 30 for direct entry. Soldiers still commission from the ranks at ages over 30.

    Since one officer commissioning of my course was 37, and a good % were in their thirties I don't see why not. TA officers probably should be older on average. We don't have 44 weeks to be molded, only really 24 regular week equivalents (taking 4.5 days as the regular working week)
  7. Get yourself down to 71. They are a good bunch and get a feel for what you want to do, don't sit here go and see them.

    As for LIAG(V) it may be your field of work, but do you want to spend your weekends doing the same thing as your 9-5? If you do, call them!

    Oh and I know of someone who commisioned at 39. If you keep thinking its too late, it will be. Just do it. :wink:
  8. For the bit about how you get comisioned as an officer it's more complex than you'd think. You can either join as a soldier, and then once you have passed Military Training Qualification 2 (MTQ2) you can ask to be put forward for the TA commisioning board, then join a MTQ3 training center (ULOTC is the only one i know of near london), where you spend around 3 months training for MTQ3 then go off to sandhurst. (this route can take a lot of time, a few years probably)
    OR you can go "direct entry" which is a zero to hero course lasting a year, with every other weekend used for training purposes, same material but far more intensive.

    You aren't too old, if you want it go for it. Go in and talk to the units you're thinking about, even if you find one you like, check out some others. Good luck
  9. check your pm lookwninward
  10. Check your PM's. I can help re. Chelmsford.......
  11. Thanks!!! We try :lol:
  12. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    No you are not too old - but can you make the commitment as an officer. I would advis eyou to join in the ranks and see if you like it. If you do then think about being an officer.

    I think it was good advice suggesting you go along to the HAC - you could always get a commission elsewhere if thats what you want to do later.
  13. I've been told I'll be getting recruit trained then TACB, and I'm 27 in a few weeks and awaiting clearance.

    I wouldn't let it bother you. I get the impression the TA will keep you as busy as you want to be, whether you're at the top or bottom.
  14. I commissioned at 35.

    I'm Royal Signals, I think that EER thing is a unit specialism, I did need to get a special dispensation to join late in my life but it's not really a big deal these days, especially with the TA Officer Corp down in personnel quite considerably.

    I think you'll find you can only join 81 Sig Sqn if you work for BT, as the Army (being a bit cleverer than most people think) set up a sqn of BT staff so they could get cheap maintenence on their fixed comms eqpt (cheaper to pay for a siggy than a BT engineer).

    At the moment you can only join LIAG as an officer (according to someone from LIAG that I have just spoken to), but apparently that's changing.

    I echo the earlier comment about doing your civvy job in the Army. You said you wanted a challenge, but what's challenging about doing the same thing? Also, why do you want to be an Officer? If you like 'doing the do' then you'll get far more of that as a Sig/JNCO/SNCO. Your early years of being an Officer will be all about management and watchkeeping.

    The Army needs your skills undoubtedly, but there is no point joining up with a unit and then getting bored and leaving after a year or two (especially as your Officer Training will seem to take up most of your life).

    Advice wise is to cast your net a bit wider afield in terms of unit, get all the information relating to who they are, and more importantly what there role is. Then, lock your self in a room for days, and gradually burn the docs from the units you don't want to join. Then, when the smoke turns white, we'll know you made a decision and will prepare to welcome you to the brotherhood.