Making All Training Toss (MATTs)

#1
I was going to reply to another thread but I ended up going on about MATTS.

I hate them, they are a complete waste of resources, all they provide is a QA measure that doesn't provide quality.

I'm intending to run a similar trade test/assessment in Jan 09 but I don't intend on testing soldiers - more collecting data to see where training should be focused.

Going back to the other thread, I remember Bounty tests being progressive i.e. they got harder each year. So why do we have crap about the TA of the past being poorer, maybe some units were drinking clubs but why do all of us have to suffer MATTS because of their culture (and 'oddly' the ones I know about have made a major contribution to current ops).

As you may have guessed I'm a QA freak but I don't agree with procedures if they don't provide quality.

I dislike the amount of time dedicated to MATTS at the expense of other more relevant training
 
#4
I hate MATTs and believe they through up real retention issues. I did my MATTS on the 'First Chance' weekend in April so thought that was it done and dusted, now get on with the fun stuff. But no, they've been repeated on camp, nearly every weekend and some training evenings too - for those who can't get their ass out of their chairs and do the MATTs at the beginning of the year.
MATT training and testing is fine as it tests basic skills but not as the main effort for the whole training year.
As for testing, how many are really tested and how many get the tick in the box for turning up anyway?
 
#5
I am having trouble trying to decide whether I agree or not.

MATTs run at a sub-unit level can tend to become all pervasive if not handled correctly and kept on a short leash. Run from RHQ, in a timely manner and focused on, say, 3 w/e per annum work fine. There is by definition a great deal more which ought to be going into training especially when it is borne in mind that effevtively TA units are now in a permanent state of PDT because someone's going on the next RTMC course, and the next, and he next...

HOWEVER:

Recent experience on the Regular Individual Augmentee course at Chilwell showed up startling deficiencies in the preparation of TA soldiers and officers for MATTs testing. As a TA officer, but RIA-ing for one week rather than taking a fortnight because of time pressure to get into theatre, I fell vaguely in the middle watching both sides of the establishment get on with what they were doing.

The Regular course is a week rather than a fortnight on the basis that unlike the TA they are expected not to need a week's revision before testing on MATTs. This is clearly not the case for all regular personnel - but it appeared to work fine for the overwhelming majority. The TA course on the other hand was seeing substantial failure rates which reflects endemic poor preparation at both unit/sub-unit and individual levels. Let's not forget that vrtually every man going through MATTs at RTMC is a volunteer for mobilisation and on that basis is both up for it and has had months of awareness that it is going to take place. There were people at all ranks, up to and including Lt Col, missing pass lines - the gradings for all the tests are posted in the training wing on the company boards.

If we, the TA, are failing to get this right for those who are about to deploy, when both we and they know that these skills are going to be tested (not just at RTMC but in the face of operational neccessity in only a few weeks' time), then I have to say, we need lots more practice to get this right.

If you can't pass a BPFA or stick out a 2 hour CFT stroll, you really have no business applying for mobilisation in the first place. If it doesn't occur to you, or you chain of command, that being up to the very minimum spec in terms of First Aid might be a good idea before going off to a kinetic theatre of operations then it bloody well ought to.

Let's make sure that we're getting it right, and delivering it in a way which means our soldiers are professionally capable before we dive into the recriminations with regard to the training burden. There is systemic failure to universally prepare our soldiers for operations at the most basic of levels.

Train them, test them, pass them. Repeat until all three phases are green.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#7
Polar in "whinge about having to do military training rather than play with his computer" shocker.

MATTs are not the most exciting training, granted, but shooting, fitness, first aid, map reading etc are core skills of the soldier. If you are in the TA, you are supposed to be a soldier.

If you are the all knowing, supersoldier, outstanding SNCO you attempt to portray yourself as, why do you not volunteer to organise and run your own MATTs package and make it interesting, demanding and relevant.

Can't be bothered? Too easy just to whine on Arrse (again!) and make it someone elses fault?

Thought so.
 
#8
fas_et_gloria said:
If we, the TA, are failing to get this right for those who are about to deploy, when both we and they know that these skills are going to be tested (not just at RTMC but in the face of operational neccessity in only a few weeks' time), then I have to say, we need lots more practice to get this right.
What about for those who aren't about to deploy? Should they have to achieve the same standard? Shouldn't those deploying meet a higher standard?

P.S. Caulkhead - Getting MATTs out of the way at the start of the year is a cunning plan. Even better when run at Brigade level. Falls a bit short when half of them don't do the tests properly and the other half don't send the paperwork to the unit.

What happens when you do MATTS at the start of the year in year 1 and then the end of the year in year 2? Effectivly you've gone for nigh on 2 years without doing them. Not very clever is is?
 
#9
I remember somewhere in the past someone explaining "the army is not a democracy" just as I put my unwelcome 2pence into the pot.

Should we all pass the same tests deploying or not, yes.
Can we make the training harder, yes MATT is the minimum.

Having to do them repeatadly because of people missing out is arse because of a few factors ie losing paperwork(spank the eejit), no warning order of ringfenced w/ends for MATTs.....let people can sort thier life out in prep for it(attend/bit of extra fiz if needed).

If Illness/family dramas or true reasons for not attending then sure rerun them but dont subject the whole bunch to the lessons.

Meeting a higher standard for deplying is a different basket of fish I feel and down to the Bn to run good beatup training in prep for RTMC/OPTAG with consultation with returning units.....pool the knowlage, TM's/PSI job? not sure but a good idea
 
#10
One possibility would be to make at least some of the MATTS into an e-learning package, in the same way that something like MK1 and 2 are.certainly the theory bits of BCD, nav and most of the MATT 6 lessons could be done this way. This would mean that training evenings wouldn't have to be given over to them so much.

The NHS is now starting to do this for much of the mandatory training, an e learning package followed by an online test and the pass or fail passed to unit electronically.
 
#11
e learning has its own pitfalls - look at JPA but it will be the same lazy arrsed slackers that will not be bothered to complete it ie Why should it be done in my own time?
MATTS training can be knocked up on a drill night however the problem in out unit is that as usual its last minute.com.
Remember once taught the MATTS are simply a revision package so a period of quick revision/practical followed by a test the following week.
My gripe is uber an@l instructors who insist on delivering the whole MATTS package as per the timings each and every year thus wasting more valuable training time.
 
#12
StabTiffy2B said:
fas_et_gloria said:
If we, the TA, are failing to get this right for those who are about to deploy, when both we and they know that these skills are going to be tested (not just at RTMC but in the face of operational neccessity in only a few weeks' time), then I have to say, we need lots more practice to get this right.
What about for those who aren't about to deploy? Should they have to achieve the same standard? Shouldn't those deploying meet a higher standard?

P.S. Caulkhead - Getting MATTs out of the way at the start of the year is a cunning plan. Even better when run at Brigade level. Falls a bit short when half of them don't do the tests properly and the other half don't send the paperwork to the unit.

What happens when you do MATTS at the start of the year in year 1 and then the end of the year in year 2? Effectivly you've gone for nigh on 2 years without doing them. Not very clever is is?
They do. TA units are level 2, units and individuals warned off for ops are Level 1
 
#13
yater_spoon said:
e learning has its own pitfalls - look at JPA but it will be the same lazy arrsed slackers that will not be bothered to complete it ie Why should it be done in my own time?
MATTS training can be knocked up on a drill night however the problem in out unit is that as usual its last minute.com.
Remember once taught the MATTS are simply a revision package so a period of quick revision/practical followed by a test the following week.
My gripe is uber an@l instructors who insist on delivering the whole MATTS package as per the timings each and every year thus wasting more valuable training time.
It maybe that those Uber an@l instructors are the ones who signature appears at the bottom of the paperwork and who will be first in the frame when something happens to an individual who they have signed off. As I tel potential instructors, you can do it how you like as long as you can justify it it court, but I am teaching you the correct method.
 
#14
You only need to teach a trained soldier once! There is no requirement as a trained soldier to sit through 6 hrs bcd/cbrn before you can take the test every year. A simple revision period should suffice. If someone who claims to be trained is sufficiently bad on a practical test then they will be an obvious candidate for retraining
 
#15
Top posts from the Parachutists.

Polar, are you sure the TA really is for you?
 
#16
MATTs are a good idea implemented in a p!ss-poor fashion. They weren't properly planned or resourced, and no-one bothered to work out the implications of putting every instructors quals out of date at - what is for the TA - short notice.

What they also do - very explicitly - is push responsibility down the CoC, Not everyone has grasped this, not everyone understands the liability cutting corners exposes them to. Redcap got to the heart of it:

Redcap said:
It maybe that those Uber an@l instructors are the ones who signature appears at the bottom of the paperwork and who will be first in the frame when something happens to an individual who they have signed off. As I tel potential instructors, you can do it how you like as long as you can justify it it court, but I am teaching you the correct method.
For instance, go to MATT 2 and look at the work up routine recommended for the CFT, individual consultations with the over-forties and so on. And yet how many other units do theirs with a PTI parachuted in for two hours ? If someone drops dead (God forbid) their other half can take the Army to court waving the copy of MATT 2 she downloaded arguing that the unit failed in their duty of care by not following the Army's own advice.

And as for the whole Level 1 for Ops, Level 2 for standard business - words fail me. Has anyone worked out how this works for Corps ? We send people off all the time, so by rights we should train to Level 1. But we don't, it's Level 2 all the way. And management merely shuffle and change the subject when you point this out. Not that we could train to Level 1 mind without a lot more instructors and taking up so much time we'd be compromising the trade skills they're being deployed to use.
 
#17
fas_et_gloria said:
Let's not forget that vrtually every man going through MATTs at RTMC is a volunteer for mobilisation and on that basis is both up for it and has had months of awareness that it is going to take place.
Simple: You volunteer, you get tested, you fail, your application goes in the bin.

There is no point leaving it to the last minute before departure to test people and find they cannot meet the standards.

msr
 
#18
msr said:
fas_et_gloria said:
Let's not forget that vrtually every man going through MATTs at RTMC is a volunteer for mobilisation and on that basis is both up for it and has had months of awareness that it is going to take place.
Simple: You volunteer, you get tested, you fail, your application goes in the bin.

There is no point leaving it to the last minute before departure to test people and find they cannot meet the standards.

msr
Well quite, and there's always the forlorn hope that between the pride of the individual, the enthusiasm and self-interest of anyone willingly volunteering to put themselves in harm's way for 6 months and the professional application of the training staff at unit and sub-unit level, soldiers getting to within a fortnight of deploying to an 'entertaining' operational theatre just might be able to pass what amounts to a selection of reasonably basic military skills stands.

4th_of_foot said:
So FEG, what are most failing RIA for? Fitness and First Aid?
To be fair there wasn't actually a huge amount of failure per se so much as a fair few reasonably senior people having, for example, remedial crash tests in weapon handling (from the TA)- a couple of QA majors who hadn't handled a rifle in years, spring to mind. Or the principles of marksmanship on a practical level, from half the red-capped component (from anyone who could speak for laughing). I don’t recall that anyone failed either the BPFA or CFT, but I may be wrong.


Personally, I would have been mortified, as a sub-unit training officer, if any of the soldiers for whose preparation I had been responsible had been Chilwell RTU-ed as a result of anything other than a med/dent failure. Said it before, I'll surely say it again - There is systemic failure to universally prepare our soldiers for operations at the most basic of levels.

As for talk of different standards for those going and those staying: that might well be the official line, but the officially acceptable gap has noticeably shrunk in the past few years, and more to the point, we've all lived through recent experiences where the mobilisation process was 24 hours long, involved a 10 rd zeroing shoot, a canister change and a charter flight to a combat environment of someone else's choosing. Not much opportunity there for the differentiation between those who know they're going and those who think they aren't until three days earlier. Is there?
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
fas_et_gloria said:
4th_of_foot said:
So FEG, what are most failing RIA for? Fitness and First Aid?
To be fair there wasn't actually a huge amount of failure per se so much as a fair few reasonably senior people having, for example, remedial crash tests in weapon handling (from the TA)- a couple of QA majors who hadn't handled a rifle in years, spring to mind. Or the principles of marksmanship on a practical level, from half the red-capped component (from anyone who could speak for laughing). I don’t recall that anyone failed either the BPFA or CFT, but I may be wrong.
At a recent mobilisation, quite a few people failed their PFTs (they are allowed a retest in the initial fortnight), CFT an APWT. Those soldiers were held back at RTMC for a week of remedial training and re-testing before they could join their respective units. The overwhelming majority of these were from a CSS unit which seems to show that the old attitude of, "s/he's only a chef/storeman/driver and can be taken on at risk as s/he won't ever really need to shoot his rifle/tab/run" is well and truly dead. All of which is a marked and welcome change since the last time I walked through Chetwynd's hallowed gates.

Top tip? Get fit! And be advised the PTI staff there are **** about performing press ups and sit ups correctly. If you don't do them right, they will discount them. I'd already been aware of this and had prepared for 'chest almost to the floor' press upstyle, but many others did struggle.
 
#20
RP578 said:
The overwhelming majority of these were from a CSS unit
Name and shame!

msr
 

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