Officer Recruiting

#1
The numbers of Officers in post within the current structure of the TA is currently significantly less than establishment.

TA Officer numbers have been dwindling for some years (many units have only one or two) changing the dynamics of the Officers Corps - more LE, less young blood, more SO2/Majors and above, SNCOs in command positions - with consequent impact on structures, ethos, credibility.

Heads have been scratched as to how to improve this situation and msr has banged on about this relentlessly in the past.

We've 'made do' in the interim.

The Graduated Commitment Model is being done to death elsewhere will have an impact on the demand and attraction of a TA Commission, as will Hybrid Units, funding, scale of the TA, the OCP etc.

Questions then:

If you have commissioned of late - was it worth it?

Should the Commissioning Training course be adjusted - to Commission earlier subject to ongoing training up to substantive Lieutenant?

Have you looked at a Commission and decided it wasn't for you and why?

Why would you join as an Officer these days?

Is the economy an issue?

Does the IR generation machine offer Officers anything?

Should the TA make an effort now to recruit Officers? What's the point?

The UOTCs are still not paying the Cadets following the recent cuts - they were excluded from the add back. Were you an Officer Cadet and are you still turning up?

Is there a role for Officers on Ops - really?

How do you get to be a TA 2 Star?
 
#2
If anyone in recruitment in civvy street hit only 25% of their targets they would be sacked. Clearly this is not the case in the public sector.

Until it appears on someone's OJAR, no-one is going to give a toss.

msr
 
#3
I was commissioned a loooong time ago. Not at all sure I would bother now. Why?

(1) Process much more lengthy and tortuous than before
(2) Limited chance to mobilise as say Pl Comd or equivalent (i.e. in the role I trained for)
(3) No additional financial advantage as the Army would pay me my civ salary (on mob) anyway.

Flip side to the coin: some of my best mates are those I served as a TA Pl Comd with 20 years ago. But that would probably still apply if I had been a Rfn rather than 2Lt.

Now however, I could join up as Rfn, do a couple of years, have a pretty exciting tour somewhere, then retire and tell war stories to anyone interested. That's a pretty decent alternative to years of OJARs, Boards of Officers etc etc.

So maybe there would be a positive side to GCM after all. But that's another story (and for another thread...)
 
#4
It is clear that the Army does NOT have an attraction strategy for TA or reserve officers. I would like to think that this is because it’s been filed in the "too difficult" box, however I suspect it’s in "can't arrsed and why should we bother" box.

I suspect that no one wants to articulate the non existent (by the standards of today’s society) benefits of gaining a commission.

When asked I asked a certain 2 star the question about attracting PO's, his reply was couched in terms of "serving Queen and Country", which might have worked 20 years ago. Enquiries with other 1 star and 2 star officers have met either a similar response or promise to “look into it”.

I can only conclude that no one gives a stuff, other than the TA.

YM
 
#6
One idea I've heard was making the UOTC's strongly push OCdt's to commission. Due to the time commitments for commissioning at the moment people are less likely to commission if they have a full work/family life, so instead people should be pushed to commission at uni. After uni the commission can be put on hold for up to 5 years while the subject settles into their job, before eventually returning to the TA as a relatively young officer.

There is of course the problem of cost and the potential for many people allowing their commission to lapse instead of re-joining.
 
#7
Is this a 'casual labour' versus 'part time labour' point? I mean, if you were a proper part timer and attracted pro rata benefits, would it not be fairer?

Is there an honour and privilege issue here - a commission sets you up for life?

On the recent Continuous Attitude Survey, 'challenge' and new skills were right up there at the top of the 'reasons for joining' (scant mention of operations by the way).

Maybe YeoMan is right - maybe no-one actually gives a stuff - a bit like the attitude to the TA until they needed us.
 
#8
Hobo-Ken said:
I was commissioned a loooong time ago. Not at all sure I would bother now. Why?

(1) Process much more lengthy and tortuous than before
(2) Limited chance to mobilise as say Pl Comd or equivalent (i.e. in the role I trained for)
(3) No additional financial advantage as the Army would pay me my civ salary (on mob) anyway.

Flip side to the coin: some of my best mates are those I served as a TA Pl Comd with 20 years ago. But that would probably still apply if I had been a Rfn rather than 2Lt.

Now however, I could join up as Rfn, do a couple of years, have a pretty exciting tour somewhere, then retire and tell war stories to anyone interested. That's a pretty decent alternative to years of OJARs, Boards of Officers etc etc.

So maybe there would be a positive side to GCM after all. But that's another story (and for another thread...)

My thoughts are similiar. Personally I just don't see the benefits of commissioning in the TA anymore. I did my MOD 3 of TACC in my last year of uni, was injured and couldn't go on to RMAS that summer. Then I managed to find a pretty full on job and just couldn't commit the time required to go through MOD 3 again. From what I can gather from friends of mine whom are now commissioned they seem to spend an awful lot of time doing admin and paperwork (admittedly very important).

To me that just isn't going to swing it for me, why would you want to go through the long process of commissioning to end up doing loads of admin, when some of us already do that for a day job. And as your man says there are limited chances to mobilise in the role you intially train for. That said good luck to those who go for it but for me i'd rather stay in the ranks and work my way up the NCO route, its more hands on, gives you a bit of responsibility and isn't asking too much of you(well maybe not for sgts and above) after a long day at work. I'm sure MSR or The Duke will find many faults with my thinking but this is just the way I perceive it as a former ocdt.
 
#9
I think you are right.

msr
 
#10
msr said:
I think you are right.

msr
Bugger me!! 8O It is an ever increasing problem though, one observation I have is that when I did my RCB (Briefing) my syndicate DS said being a YO was a lot like being a rugby (or any other sport) captain, leading & doing some organising of the players and some good fun thrown in. It would seem that that isn't the case anymore. (although I'm always happy to be proved wrong)
 
#12
Countrylad said:
msr said:
I think you are right.

msr
Bugger me!! 8O It is an ever increasing problem though, one observation I have is that when I did my RCB (Briefing) my syndicate DS said being a YO was a lot like being a rugby (or any other sport) captain, leading & doing some organising of the players and some good fun thrown in. It would seem that that isn't the case anymore. (although I'm always happy to be proved wrong)
And with the cancellation of Mess Dos, it's looking increasing like the fun is evaporating.

msr
 
#13
Heh. This reminds me of a conversation I heard in the Fembot Club the other night.

Archbishop: That Lalor fella was tapping me for tips on how to improve the TA's "offer" to potential officers.

Rocket scientist: That makes sense. Church of England: maestros of the art of recruitment.

Archbishop: Screw you, conehead. Anyway, he was really fretting. Said this guy MrTracey had a long list of things needing fixing. But, to be honest, I'm stumped.

Rocket scientist: Yeah, me too. I keep thinking: "wormholes - gotta be some way to sort this out with wormholes ..."

Archbishop: That's your answer for everything. Didn't you want to ram the EU down a wormhole?

Rocket scientist (guiltily): Yeah.

Fembot 03-7A (batting eyelashes, engaging relaxotronic mode): Sirs, can I interrupt?

Rocket scientist (setting aside his mojito, swooning slightly): Always, Sevenalpha, my love.

Fembot 03-7A: Why worry about not being able to attract something you don't need? That's how I feel about you chaps.

Archbishop: That hurts, 03-7A.

The Fembot strokes the Archbishop's crozier, almost wistfully

Fembot 03-7A: But don't you see? If I ever were to want someone to take the place of the dear Dr Evil, I would go out there and, well, make myself attractive to my target market.

Archbishop (flustered, but then bracing himself): Yes, well. What if you decided you needed someone on standby? Someone, or indeed several, to be ready to pile in, just in case old Evil starts to flag?

Fembot 03-7A: Well then, sweetie, when Evil's balloon fails to go up, I will just appeal - she faux-meekly adjusts a fluffy feathery bit on her decolletage - to the better virtues of Britain's young men.

A red light on her bracelet lights up.

Fembot 03-7A
: Oops. Looks like old Evil needs his Scud prepped. I will see you gentlemen later.

Exit Fembot.

Archbishop: Bloody hell. What am I going to tell Lalor? That the Army's like a satisfied Fembot?

Rocket scientist: Yeah. Just tell him to stop worrying and make sure that the Army can thrust its boobs in young men's faces when it needs to, and he'll probably get a CBE for nicking the idea. Now, Spearmint Rhino?

Archbishop: You betcha!
 
#14
Dr_Evil said:
Heh. This reminds me of a conversation I heard in the Fembot Club the other night.

Archbishop: That Lalor fella was tapping me for tips on how to improve the TA's "offer" to potential officers.

Rocket scientist: That makes sense. Church of England: maestros of the art of recruitment.

Archbishop: Screw you, conehead. Anyway, he was really fretting. Said this guy MrTracey had a long list of things needing fixing. But, to be honest, I'm stumped.

Rocket scientist: Yeah, me too. I keep thinking: "wormholes - gotta be some way to sort this out with wormholes ..."

Archbishop: That's your answer for everything. Didn't you want to ram the EU down a wormhole?

Rocket scientist (guiltily): Yeah.

Fembot 03-7A (batting eyelashes, engaging relaxotronic mode): Sirs, can I interrupt?

Rocket scientist (setting aside his mojito, swooning slightly): Always, Sevenalpha, my love.

Fembot 03-7A: Why worry about not being able to attract something you don't need? That's how I feel about you chaps.

Archbishop: That hurts, 03-7A.

The Fembot strokes the Archbishop's crozier, almost wistfully

Fembot 03-7A: But don't you see? If I ever were to want someone to take the place of the dear Dr Evil, I would go out there and, well, make myself attractive to my target market.

Archbishop (flustered, but then bracing himself): Yes, well. What if you decided you needed someone on standby? Someone, or indeed several, to be ready to pile in, just in case old Evil starts to flag?

Fembot 03-7A: Well then, sweetie, when Evil's balloon fails to go up, I will just appeal - she faux-meekly adjusts a fluffy feathery bit on her decolletage - to the better virtues of Britain's young men.

A red light on her bracelet lights up.

Fembot 03-7A
: Oops. Looks like old Evil needs his Scud prepped. I will see you gentlemen later.

Exit Fembot.

Archbishop: Bloody hell. What am I going to tell Lalor? That the Army's like a satisfied Fembot?

Rocket scientist: Yeah. Just tell him to stop worrying and make sure that the Army can thrust its boobs in young men's faces when it needs to, and he'll probably get a CBE for nicking the idea. Now, Spearmint Rhino?

Archbishop: You betcha!
Spot on - Wingles where are you?
 
#15
What about pushing leadership skills training? Works for employers too. "Personal Development" (Currently as a grunt... err, I mean "Other Ranks") is how I sold the TA to my employer and it seems to go down well, even if itat's largely because they're not any good at providing it themselves.
 
#16
looktowindward said:
What about pushing leadership skills training? Works for employers too. "Personal Development" (Currently as a grunt... err, I mean "Other Ranks") is how I sold the TA to my employer and it seems to go down well, even if itat's largely because they're not any good at providing it themselves.
Does anyone really think that Employers give a hoot about 'personal development' in the current economy? This is yet another smoke and mirrors scam put out by the Army because it simply doesn't understand the dynamics and drivers for the 'volunteer' whether that as an enabler or a mobilisee. They just don't get it - they've never worked in a civvy company and therefore don't understand what is takes to succeed in both the TA and civvy Street.

YOs are at the beginning of a long career in both the Army and their civilian job. Their civvy employer does not expect them to be the Chief Exec in their first year and allows them to improve slowly with experience and with growing confidence. The Army? - Nope,

'Commission before you can do anything and we'd like you to do it at weekends and by the way, we're going to make it hard...You couldn't finish it due to family and work? we don't want you then.'

Ridiculous
 
#17
As someone who's been in just over a year I looked at Officer Selection & discussed it with the recruiting WO2 who basically told me as I don't have a degree to forget. I have to say at that stage I knew little about what was involved training wise &/or what I would be doing after commisioning.

Had I known then I certainly wouldn't have enquired because I joined to do all the good stuff, not do paper work. I changed career 7 years ago because I hated my job due to the amountof mindless form filling & report writing, so no way in the world would I get back into a situation where I'd be doing it again!

I joined to learn my trade & mobilise for Ops, not sit behind desks. Luckily for me I'm doing well on both counts!
 
#18
From where I am sitting, there appears to be two ferrets fighting in this particular sack..

Problem 1. There is a need to officer fighting units, at least up to Captain rank, although it would be a brave General that would field even a teeth arm TA Captain in role unless we were in all out war.. This is a variety of the bull/ram/cockerel problem, in that we can use these creatures while they are young, but have very limited use past this point.

Problem 2. Despite the best efforts of the General Staff to get rid of them, there is an ongoing and growing need for specialist officers in niche roles. The example being the various species of quack and bone setter currently inhabiting the Bastion hospital, (and offering the best boob job south of Kandahar as I understand...). There are aslo however a variety of (very) odd bods lurking around in the int, engineer and log area providing professional services that are not or no longer available or sustainable through the regular orbat. The country could not afford to employ these folk 24/7 but cannot just grab them off the streets, as in some cases their skills are not available in civvie street either. We have been using "consultants" in this role for the past decade, and IMHO they do not deliver... they are not committed, cost too much and walk out the door with their experience gained at our expense..

What seems to me to have happened is that the two problems have been conflated.. We seem to have ended up with a raft of superannuated bulls and rams who are actually unemployable and who seem to have displaced the "odd bods", who actually do have something to offer...

Could I suggest that we need to take a much longer term view of the problem. Perhaps all TA Officers should be forced to specialise at the rank of Captain, perhaps even change capbadge? Teeth arms need to identify niche specialised roles such as G2 or Support weapons, with roles up to LtCol in advisory or training functions. Non teeth arms need to stop producing "GS" officers as there is no job for them... We need geologists, anthropologists, police advisors, IT managers, explosives experts, and all sorts of other advisors right up the chain of command (or at least to 1/2 star)..

Woja think..
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#19
MrTracey said:
'Commission before you can do anything and we'd like you to do it at weekends and by the way, we're going to make it hard...You couldn't finish it due to family and work? we don't want you then.'
Not really... it's just that we have developed unrealistic expectations of who we can commission as TA officers. Tighten up the way we do things: make the OTCs the sole feeder for the TACC and stop pretending we can take every Tom, Dick and Harriet with leadership potential off the streets and turn them into TA officers. We can't: we don't have the money and they don't have the time. As a corollary to this, stop OCdts who are intending to go regular taking up slots on the TACC just so they can get a pip 'up' during their final year in the OTC.

What would this give us? Young and potentially mobilisable officers who might well be in the frame to do a post-University gap year op tour 'in role' if we can get them through regular special-to-arm and PDT; before going back to their TA units as grizzled combat vets with operational credibility.
 
#20
If you take all the fun out or the volunteer reserves, why would you want spend 10 years doing what you can do in civvy street, get mobilised as SO2 portaloo (nights). Isnt half the point to get out and do something different for the common good. Place caps on training and you take away the whole point of being a reserve officer. Remove the TD and equivalent and you take away the carrot that kept them soldiering on.
 

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