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OTC working with the ACF


i cant believe im siding with the OTC here, however there are some very critical benifits of having OTC support on an ACF camp. having seen some of the varying levels of competencey within the ACF in all aspects.

For instance the ACF are very short in general of AI's, thus being the case an MTQ2/3 type of cadet can instruct to a level comparible to any of your AI's in most disciplines (except drill...OTC's are poor to mediocre at best). the cadet manuals are idiot proof and the level to which army cadets are taught is far below that required in terms of experience of the instructor.

in my experience as a cadet in the ACF, the OTC types that freqent the camps are very influential in terms of the aspirations of the army cadets themselves. these kids aspire to be like these officer cadets...and they most certainly do not wish to be like the 57 year old AI with a pot belly and a handle bar mustache...


War Hero
As an ex Army Cadet, an ex SSI and ex Forces, Ill put my bit in.....

As an ex Army Cadet, some of the best Field Exercise's I ever went on were attached as enemy forces to Exeter OTC, two weeks at Crowbrough running round with a SLR and shooting loads of blanks at the OTC - when you happen to be a 16 year old Cadet, that followed by the chance to get into the OTC mess at exdex, was a good 2 week camp!

As an ex SSI (Army Cadets), we used to have OTC attached to us for our summer camp, my advice is find the most switched on ones, and allow them to work on the Adventure Training, and or Field Exercise that your unit do at Summer Camp. They will bring a new level to Cadet Training, and if you have a "Senior Cadet Exercise" the OTC will help to make it even better (If you use the correct instructors).

Two examples of OTC attached to Cadet Exercises - to show what can heppen.....

Example 1
OTC attached to my platoon, she didn't understand "fieldcraft" was more your adventure training and drinking type, she was my Platoon Comander, that I had to point in the right direction on every attack......

Example 2
OTC attached to my platoon, He was in his last year of OTC, had a start date to join RM, and again was attached to my section for the Senior Exercise I was working on, He worked hard, got the Cadets working hard, and spent the 4 days we were running around sennybridge in the rain working very hard to make the cadets feel like it was "real".

As stated earlier in this forum, find out what they are good at and what they enjoy doing and attach them to that activity.

Might be worth, you attending one of there weekend exercises, to see the type of people you will be working with, also gives you the chance to get a better understanding, of there (much better then ACF) level of fieldcraft, and then explain to them, how the ACF work differently (NO BFA's!!!!)

Good luck



My coy had a group of OTC with us on camp assisting, good group of gals and guys. Although in terms of teaching assisting cadets they should be treated as TA/reg's and supervised by a CFAV at all times as they are not CRB checked, although it would be benficial if the cost is not too high.

Our OTC spent most of camp on fire picket or duty driver, which was a waste given their fieldcraft skills, as they could have been supervised by any of the CFAVs.


War Hero
The point I am making is that OTC has value to ACF, but what value will depend on what each wants to get out of the relationship and that in turn will depend upon what each needs.

Some counties may not have the benefit of reasonably young, well qualified, Ex TA/Reg NCO's. Some do. Some may not get good support from Regular/TA NCO's, some do.

If I take tango's example 2 it is a brilliant example of what OTC can do if that is what the County ACF are in need of. Since the other SI at my det is a recently Ex Reg NCO, sniper qualified, recently back from the sandpit and warry as a warry thing it isn't something we need help with. Others may.

I have already said I'd love help and I have explained what we can't get already from people better qualified than OTC. I realise that others may have different needs. If OTC can help me with those things I'd be very very grateful. Equally if OTC want something from me they should say so and if I can reasonably provide it I will, but there is no point in agreeing to do a camp without OTC making it clear what they want to get out of it and establishing that they will get it and then moaning afterwards.

So here is a challenge. If any OTC want to work with cadets for a weekend, is prepared to let me use them for demonstrations and wants something in return then PM me telling me want they want in return and I'll see what we can do. I would add that what I need requires a lot of hard work, long hours doing rehersals etc. It isn't a jolly.


Just to thow my experience of last summer into the debate, I spent a week with some other OCdts from my OTC with the local ACF on their annual camp. We were a pretty switched and capable group (at least in OTC terms), of those who had completed one or two years with the OTC. I can't speak for the other guys, but personally, in the space of a week attached to the 2* trg coy I:
* Completed my LR fam so that I could help out with the driving for them (and when I go back this summer I will have my D1 license too, so I can drive the minibuses if they need me to).
* Took the Cadet GP Weapons Handling Test, gaining a skilled pass, which allowed me to train and then test the cadets themselves.
* Stagged on as range sentry for a few hours, on two days.
* Coached the cadets on the ranges.
* Taught the cadets: Map reading (GMA etc), firing positions, section attacks, ambush drills, patrolling skills, marksmanship principles and harbour drills.
* Assisted in organising an ambush for my Pl to take part in.

I'm sure my own experiences as a cadet (albeit CCF not ACF) helped, especially in terms of knowing not to overcomplicate things like section attacks, but the point is that if you get the right type of OCdt they can offer a lot to an ACF on camps. I'm sure they got a lot out of having us there as they've invited us personally back this summer, and I got a week's pay, my LR fam and some good banter. Everyone wins :)
I went to 'help' out at the CCF central camp last summer and can honestly say it was the most boring week of my life. In 6 days I clocked up over 30 hours of stag, alot of it on the ranges in 8 hrs solo stints.

Well, blame it on your brigade old chap. When we go to CCF central camp (there was about 30 of us this year) we run a command and leadership stand that is part of the camp schedule for the cadets, those of us that aren't involved with that provide enemy for the fieldcraft or if you have certain skills like climbing / canoeing they're put on to help as extra staff. Absolutely NO stag whatsoever or range work.

I've done Cadet Camps (both ACF & CCF) for the last three summers, and I can honestly say I've never been treated as a skivvy, I've had to sleep in the guard house once because it was the Sgts mess dinner so there was no staff to watch the kids.
Obviously the ACF camp is a different beast because instead of just being part of an OTC stand we're inserted in small groups into the companies
In the days we're used for teaching, the ACF lot I've worked with are quick to assess what we're good for (orders/fieldcraft etc) and what we're useless at (Drill..etc, which they're more than happy to give us pointers on).
When it comes to things like guard, its made pretty clear by the county training officer or whoever that thats not what we're there for, we're there to assist with training and fill in gaps (where people can't get time off work etc), not least because of the whole CRB/Duty of care thing.

As Tango said above, it can be hit and miss..generally at our OTC whoevers in charge will try and get people to go that are switched on and have a clue, but its not always easy because people have other commitments over the holidays

I just feel we could have been better used. Yes AIs do have to stag on, and we should have to do our bit too.....but in 2 weeks there i did 2 days of non-stagging on. The other 12 days I was either in the guard room or getting my head down after someones bright idea of 24hr guard shifts where we were lucky to ket 4 or 5 hours kip.

Did you inform your CO of this on your return? There's not much point in going if you're just going to be used for stuff like that. Perhaps the Cadet County/etc you were with hadn't much experience of an OTC and there needs to be better liasons between the two? I know for a fact that a) our Colonel would be mortified if that had happened to us and B) the ACF Commandants would be also, they - and other senior training staff - were always reminding us to tell them if we were just being used to do crappy jobs that an AI didnt want to (no offence intended here, but you know what you're in for when you sign up as such). The ACF were just as keen for us to actually physically be doing stuff as we were.

I found that problems only arise (occasionally) in, shall I say, the 'mess enviroment' where it's a bit of a culture clash. On one hand you have the (apologies) stuffy old Officers that have these ideas stemming from the 1930's when they were a Private Soldier about how an Officers Mess should be. On the other hand you have the OTC that have their own Officers mess and are used to 'abusing it' and a good many probably imagine thats what every mess is like. And then on the other hand you have the ACF Officers coming up to us and saying its nice to have some life in the mess! (Harry ;] although I suspect he needs no OTC assistance/ encouragement)
Mongoose said:
I found that problems only arise (occasionally) in, shall I say, the 'mess enviroment' where it's a bit of a culture clash. On one hand you have the (apologies) stuffy old Officers that have these ideas stemming from the 1930's when they were a Private Soldier about how an Officers Mess should be. On the other hand you have the OTC that have their own Officers mess and are used to 'abusing it' and a good many probably imagine thats what every mess is like. And then on the other hand you have the ACF Officers coming up to us and saying its nice to have some life in the mess! (Harry ;] although I suspect he needs no OTC assistance/ encouragement)

You are quite right about the different attitudes to life in the Mess between the ACF and OTC (to be quite honest Mongoose, I'd be buggered if I drank with you lot every night - there's the age difference I guess). However, I do detect a soft breeze of change as more (relatively) young chaps like myself join and it is slowly livening up. Having said that, Lady Flashy (younger than me) does sometimes cast a jaundiced eye over the antics of my cohorts and myself! (Bless her)

Back on topic. Having read my way through this thread, I am amazed and really quite disappointed by some of the views being expressed on here.

My view of the OTC who attach themselves to us on camp is generally one of gratitude. These chaps (and chapesses) give up their summer vacation to live in less than salubrious surroundings, work 12, 14 or 16 hour days and still manage to have a good time too. OK, they get paid for it and it is a useful supplement to whatever grants/loans students get these days and possibly allows them to avoid a few shifts in MacDonald's, however (in my experience) they do work very hard.

I will use last year's Annual Camp at Westdown as an example. I had command of the 2 Star Training Cadre. The cadets on this cadre were generally newly qualified to 1 Star level and weren't really expected to produce much in the way of results (although we did manage a surprising number).

I had a group of 1 2Lieut., 3 MTQ2s and 1 MTQ1. I had quite a long conversation with this group at the outset of the camp to ascertain exactly where their skills and interests lay (exactly what I did with the staff attached to us from other companies where I didn't know them very well). Bearing this in mind, I assigned tasks that suited these skills and interests. I think I can speak with some confidence that all concerned drew some benefit from this approach and the OTC chaps certainly seemed to enjoy themselves.

I truly believe that this whole cadet game is an intricate task of making sure the square peg finds the square hole. The work is fairly shared out, skills and deficiencies (and legal requirements) are taken into account and also taken advantage of.

This way, everyone wins. :thumright:


Im a TA soldier in the West midlands, i would personally like to see a lot more integration between the ACF, CCF, OTC, TA and Regular aswell.
Under FAS the TA have had greater intergration with the regs i.e on exercises and on training and this has been a very positive thing. I believe that if this integration was across the whole board it would produce higher calibre individuals and better training for everyone. Furthermore it would give the OTC, ACF greater understanding of the role of the TA, which may mean more of them decide to join. Recently our unit has done more work with BUOTC and from it we have gained an officer cadet who is now going through his commisioning process which is obviously excellent for us. if more Ta units did this, i am confident that we would be able to meet the shortfall in officers.


I (an OCdt) am currently being encouraged to do ACF/CCF camps over the summer as I have to fund a trip later on this year. I am really interested in doing them as I'm a student teacher training to work in secondary schools so am always up for working with kids of that age. Background checks have been mentioned in previous posts, I have a full Disclosure Scotland certificate as I obviously work with kids already (unsupervised), is the this the Scottish version of the check that has been discussed?? Would this allow me to get a bit more involved?

Also, do you have to have quite a high standard of knowledge and skills? I'm sort of MTQ1 (did the pass off parade, just havn't sat all the exams as I was on placement in school) and by the time I do a camp I'll have done summer camp. I don't want to go on a cadet camp and then be useless as thats not going to be beneficial to either party.
On last years camp which was my first as an acf instructor I had an officer cadet who is now in year 3 of OTC at birmingham attached to me as an adult instructor having come to the acf from the Para reg and airborne forces I was not exactly well versed in working with OCDTS, and the whole OTC thing is a bit of an enigma to me ,
he was a thoroughly good bloke who worked hard and seemed to really enjoy himself,
I would have no problem in hosting another OTC cadet for annual camp this year if there are any octdts interested get in touch with me soon on this forum and I can hopefully sort something out between now and annual camp at wreatham ,please note you will not be used as some sort of stag machine so rest assured ocdts were treated like anyone else in our mess and lets face it if some sad knobber wants to act like generalissimo when away with the acf he/she is only going to get what they deserve from the likes of gwailo and myself .....
Likewise rest assured any OCDT who deploys with me on camp will be treated well and is guarenteed a good laugh ACF staff/officers are not all officious twats as it would appear some of the OTC posts imply.
If you actually want to spend two constructive weeks working with the likes of us get in touch and I will do what I can.


Praetorian said:
minime33 said:
It seems to me that some OTCs have a bad image of working with cadets. Is there anyway I can improve this I am already going to do a talk at the OTC. Some ACF units I have worked with seem to have a very good relationship with there local OTC which I found very benefical for both groups.

It only becomes an issue when some jumped up little cunt who has joined "Army Club" at University starts to think that he/she is a real officer. On the plus side, dirty young pert female O/CDTS who will do ANYTHING for a good time are possibly the best thing about it.

No really, you need to brief up your OTC lot about THEIR status, and brief up the ACF lot about THEIR status. Thats all. In my previous experiences, OTC Cadets and ACF Adult personell can have an excellent working relationship.

I think you'll also need to recognise that the OTC do a lot of Fieldcraft and Orders, but not much drill and turnout, or such subjects. So it may be an idea to have a pre-camp meeting and find out what skills they are actually bringing to the party.


PM me if you want some reminicenses!


Sounds like the good old days when I was at RMAS as a DS on the short courses.

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