Joining TA while in Sixth Form

#1
I'm unusually old for my year and will be 17 in September, when I will be starting my first year of sixth form (will have two years of A levels).

What opinon does the TA have on sixth formers joining? I've been in the CCF for 3 years, I'm joining up after I'm educated but that won't be for another 5 years (2 years of a-levels plus 3 years of univercity) so I've been thinking for a while about joining the TA during that time.
 
#2
As a TA Officer (with experience of Officer training), a school teacher and a CCF Officer - my advice would be 'do it'! You will lose nothing, you will get paid, you will get fantastic experience, you will be able to feed your experience back into your CCF contingent and you should have a good time. I've known some school-age cadets join the TA, some for ranks experience and some for Officer Training, the latter means that you could be Commissioned by the time you get to uni giving you three years good experience of troop / platoon command and the option of op tours etc. The TA really needs keen, capable young Officers. Give it a bash!
 
#4
Thanks for the encouragement Knocker and sandy_boots for the PM.

I was a bit unsure about what the policy was. I assume in this situation the school is technically my employer?
 
#5
Policy - so long as you are above the minimum age limit, have working limbs, a brain and a pulse you are eligable to join. School - sort of your employer I suppose. Most TA units have some students in and so are well-versed in dealing with them. Just ensure that as and when you join, as a student in full time education you apply to HM Revenue and Customs for tax-free status - you keep all your pay so long as you don't go over the £4K or so limit (bounty is outside of this amount). Pay staff will tell you more.
 
#7
OK I'm looking into what units are in the area at the moment.

RRF in Balham is close and Infantry's what I'm looking for, I've got a reasonable idea of whats involved.

Knocker would you suggest I approach a TA unit first, learn how it would work and then talk to school?
 
#8
Infantry units in London may well change in the future under FAS (Future Army Structures) - they will still be infantry but the current structure and cap badge allegence of the London Regt may change.

September's a long way away. By all means talk to them to get an idea of what they would want and what training is involved - this will help you to prepare - but in terms of getting thinks moving, nothing can be done really until you officially join.

School - up to you to tell them if you want, can't really see why you would need their permission to be honest.
 
#9
Dont know if it helps but if you want someone to pay for you to get your driving licence, and HGV licence and possibly track licence as well as all the stuff the infantry do then Westminster Dragoons (Chelsea, soon to be Fulham) are worth looking at.
web site
 
#10
Knocker said:
September's a long way away. By all means talk to them to get an idea of what they would want and what training is involved - this will help you to prepare - but in terms of getting thinks moving, nothing can be done really until you officially join.
Indeed it is, however March 2007 is even further away as you have to be 17 1/2 to join the TA, I have also been informed this is to rise to 18!
 
#12
smallheathen said:
Have you considered the possibility of being called up for active service before you finish your studies?
That won't or shouldnt happen as full time students are not required for mobilised service.
 
#13
Experience is what you get if you do something wrong and survive!

I joined during my 2nd year in 6th Form at 17. I was bitten from the first drill night and did not miss any evening or weekend training sessions. I failed my A levels, despite having had better than average results at O level. (In the mean time, I had passed the Platoon Signaller's Cadre - quite a distinction as I was still a recruit at that time). I was also able to work at the TA Centre during vacations; although the pay rates at the time were very low, I did have an income that most of my peers didn't.

I did a third year at 6th Form to re-take the A levels, this time scraping through with passes just high enough to gain entry to Further Education.

On to Polytechnic for a degree. Although distances meant that I couldn't attend drill nights during term time, I still didn't miss any weekend training. I failed my first year.

A very understanding Faculty allowed me to continue with my industrial training year, re-sitting the first year exams near the end of it. I still attended every training weekend. I failed my first year re-sits, though this time only just.

The Faculty was determined to give me every chance to continue and arranged for me to re-sit the modules that I had failed immediately prior to the start of the next term. Unfortunately, these re-sits coincided with the second week of Annual Camp. I attended the first week of the Camp. The CO was sympathetic to my need to revise and tasked me with Battalion Orderly Corporal, a job that kept me in Barracks and potentially would allow me time to revise while the rest of the Battalion was training. As it worked out, I only managed about an hour a day of free, quiet, time. I failed the re-sits.

The faculty was determined that I shouldn't leave empty-handed, so I was dropped down to the HND course. By this time, I had learned where I was going wrong and attended training sessions only during vacations. I passed. During this year, the relevant Institution altered it's entry requirements from Degree or HND plus points to Degree plus points, leaving me unable to gain Professional Membership. Not all doom and gloom, though - I got my first stripe.

You can now learn from my experience. The TA is the best club in the country and I'd recommend joining from an early age. The younger you are, the easier it is to develop along the right lines and the more likely that you'll be "adopted" by someone who knows the ropes. BUT it's very easy to get too involved, to the detriment of your studies and ultimately your future career. Use common sense and train responsibly. DON'T put the TA first in your list of commitments. You will develop within the TA over time, there's no need to rush it. If education and military commitments coincide, speak to your Senior NCOs and Officers to see if your military commitments can be re-scheduled. If they won't budge, you're probably in the wrong unit - critical training CAN be done with other units at different times and they CAN arrange this. If they say they CAN'T, it means that they WON'T. (This isn't a reflection on my unit - I was over zealous and turned down offers of alternative arrangements - or attended the alternative arrangements AS WELL!)

As you haven't started 6th Form yet, have you considered going to Welbeck, the Army's 6th Form? The link is here: http://www.welbeck.ac.uk/
 
#14
WhiteHorse said:
Indeed it is, however March 2007 is even further away as you have to be 17 1/2 to join the TA, I have also been informed this is to rise to 18!
In 1975, the age limit for the TA was also 17 1/2, so I felt that I could go to the local TAC, aged 17yrs 3 months, find out what it was all about and not be pressurised into joining. By the end of the evening, I had completed most of the paperwork and went home with a parental permission form to be brought back the following week.

I hadn't joined the TA as a SOLDIER but as a JUNIOR BANDSMAN. The Band had a lower age limit. It may still be the case.
 
#15
Knocker said:
Policy - so long as you are above the minimum age limit, have working limbs, a brain and a pulse you are eligable to join. School - sort of your employer I suppose. Most TA units have some students in and so are well-versed in dealing with them. Just ensure that as and when you join, as a student in full time education you apply to HM Revenue and Customs for tax-free status - you keep all your pay so long as you don't go over the £4K or so limit (bounty is outside of this amount). Pay staff will tell you more.
Thereis no such thing as tax free status for students. Everyone in the country can earn up to 4k or so before paying a penny in tax. Any student who earns above the limit pays the same rate of tax as everybody else.
 
#16
You must admit Puttees that that was a very special unit we served together in in our Youth.

I can echo Puttees views. I joined at the first available opportunity and spent all my time training rather than working on my education. Not sensible but I doubt that I'd change anything if I had my time over again.
 
#17
WhiteHorse said:
Knocker said:
September's a long way away. By all means talk to them to get an idea of what they would want and what training is involved - this will help you to prepare - but in terms of getting thinks moving, nothing can be done really until you officially join.
Indeed it is, however March 2007 is even further away as you have to be 17 1/2 to join the TA, I have also been informed this is to rise to 18!
Hmm well that sounds like its going to be a big help to the current recruitment problems :roll:
 
#18
My advice would be if you have the chance go for it.

RRF in Balham are a good lot and looking for recruits. Best advice would be to go along and see a couple of units and see what you make of them. Different units vary in their ethos and "feel". You should always try and find a unit you feel fits with what you want and will feel comfortable in. Unless they are numpties they will always be happy to chat to you even if you are not quite old enough to join.

If you get through recruit training before you get to University you would have the option of transfering to another TA unit as a trained recruit and moving onto Phase 2 training or joining the OTC and going into the second year training (MTQ2). MTQ1 being basically the same as a TA recruit course (maybe not as intense overall and certainly the TA recruit course would qualify you for MTQ1.(could get a good argument going here).

This puts you on a fast track if you want to get a TA commision at university either in the OTC or in another TA unit. If you end up going into the regular Army you will have to resign this at RMAS but it will still be a great grounding. If you end up long term TA you will be a good step ahead of your contemporaries.

You will also be able to earn a reasonable amount of cash at school and University. There are always odd jobs to do round any unit.

As a student in full time education you would be able to claim a mandatory exemption from being mobilised if you wanted to. However I do know several students who have "volunteered" to be mobilised and have used this as a sort of a gap year. If you are in the OTC you would have to transfer to a type A ( ie a normal ) TA unit. But I know of cases where this has been fixed up between units and guys deployed on Telic etc.

PM me if you want.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#19
I joined at age 16 in 1979 as a junior soldier in the infantry whilst at VI Form... so go for it.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#20
I joined at age 16 in 1979 as a junior soldier in the infantry whilst at VI Form... so go for it.
 

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