Regimental visits/sponsors

#1
I had my briefing earlier in the week and got a CAT 1 which I am very pleased about, I have requested the forms to book my main board but my careers advisor raised the fact that I have not been on any regimental visits. I have one booked with the Air Corps in Middle Wallop but as everyone knows it is very difficult to get in so I really need a back up.

The Artillery appeals to me, but I have been told that they don't do them until you have been to main board as they are over subscribed!

My next choice I think is going to be the Armoured Corps, as it seems it might be a mixture of technology and action, which is really what I am looking for. Signals/Logistics etc don't appeal to me at present, although my knowledge of them is very limited. Does anyone know much about life in the Armoured Corps?

I would really appreciate any advise regarding which route to go down and also any information on life in the Armoured Corps or other regiments that people have enjoyed??
 
#3
The thing wth the army air corps is, even if your aptitude is good, if they dont "like" you, you wont even get a shot at flying grading. My advice would be, if youre looking to fly, do the aptitude tests for either the RN or RAF and see if youre good enough. Army air corps officers only fly for 3-5 years. Have you looked/are you interested in the Royal Engineers?
 
#4
Yeah I have heard that the Air Corps is very tricky to get into so am not expecting too much, I have also just turned 24 so might be quite old in their books maybe too.

I hadn't really considered the Navy or the RAF as I consider myself to be much better suited to the Army, I've heard the RAF selection criteria is extremely strict, my age would probably be a problem.
I would be quite happy to move into a ground role in the future, I'm keen to get a broad experience, as long as its not dull!! That is my only criteria as thats why I am leaving the software industry!

I hadn't considered the Engineers either, again I know very little about them but my (probably naive) view at the moment is that I would like a combat/combat support role as it will be the most exciting. The thought of doing that kind of engineering/signals etc role in a conflict zone doesn't really appeal, I would rather be taking it to them, if you see what I mean?
 
#5
If you are interested in flying, then have a look at the Fleet Air Arm, when I finish uni and go regular its going to be either them for me or RMAS then royal artillery or royal engineers.
If and when you pass main board, do pay a visit to the gunners, as they have lots of interesting jobs/roles as theyre so big. Pm sent.
 
#7
I was at Sandhurst a few weeks back for the pre course briefing and they drilled the importance of FAM visits into us.

Definitely a good thing to come on here and ask for advice as it's always welcome, but if you can, get out there and have a look for yourself; I knew a bit about a couple of regiments and not a lot about some others so paid them all visit and I've learnt something from each of them.

In some cases, individuals are starting the CC in January and are yet to see any regiments/corps at all. 7 weeks or so does not leave a lot of time to become acquainted and see "what's what", and the Colonel even advised them to consider postponing their intake due to the Choice of Army procedure changing and the lack of available time to do extra-curricular visits whilst at Sandhurst.

Plenty of time left between now, MB and CC so get out there and do some window shopping, it's all good experience and the interviews etc you'll be invited to are all beneficial. Good luck!
 
#9
Thanks for all the info, very useful. I have a visit to RAC Bovington in January so looking forward to that, also going to a general infantry officer event with lots of different cap badges after that. Still keen to get something with the Artillery sorted though so will try emailing them. Cheers!
 
#10
A couple of pieces of advice from one who has been where you are now (a few years ago, I admit).

Firstly, the AAC. If you want to be an Army Officer and fly, this is a no brainer, go for it. Don't get put off by people telling you how hard it is to get into and how hard the pilot selection process is. This off putting advice is generally given by those who weren't strong enough candidates themselves. The pilot aptitude test is one of those things that you will either pass or you won't, although a fast mind (in terms of mental arithmatic) and eye hand coordination of course help. The "Regimental" interview is competitive, the only advice here is: be yourself, venture your opinion and get familiar with current affairs. If you pass these (and pass the AOSB) you will be sent on the Flying Grading Course. Work your nuts off on this and you'll pass, simple as. You'll normally get a potential officers' visit to an AAC regiment thrown in there somewhere as well.

The Royal Armoured Corps. Again this can be fairly competitive, although you should get an idea on this when you go to Bovington in January. Good idea to decide whether you are most interested in the Armoured (tank) world or the Formation Recce (FR) world, although the visit to Bovington should inform this decision. You will be interviewed by (almost certainly) a retired Lt Col while you are down there. If you don't have a strong preference as to which regiment you might be best suited to (and he will probably ask) he will be able to send you the the one which would best suit you (in terms of your personality and available spaces in your likely year of commission). If I were you, I'd ask to visit one armoured and one FR regiment (unless you are dead set on one or the other). Which ever Regiments you are pointed toward, you are likely to be interviewed by the Colonel of the Regiment (normally a retired General or Brigadier) and if he thinks you are a suitable candidate for a commission in that regiment, he will send you off on a potential officers' visit to the regiment itself.

The Royal Artillery I know less about, except that they take a lot of officers, relative to the RAC and AAC and their potential officers' visits are polished and done on a large scale at Larkhill. Disadvantages with being an RA officer, you'll spend most of your time as a junior officer in a command post with a radio headset on and a pen and paper infront of you. You will get a troop to command, although it is likely that you'll have a Tp SSgt or even Tp WO2 who may end up in de facto charge. Advantages: the RA manage their officers careers extremely well, promotion is less competitive than the RAC or Inf (not sure about the AAC). Being a FOO/FST commander is a good job and its one which they will really sell on the PO visit. However you'll only be a FOO for a couple of years, as a Capt, and realistically it is your only opportunity to be at the front end.

I would recommend that you do visit regiments before you go to the AOSB Main Board, at least so that you have a better idea of what you are getting yourself into and why. It used to be that you had to be "sponsored" (provisionally accepted) by a regiment or corps before going to the RCB Main Board (I don't know if this is still the case). I would certainly urge you to go on all of the PO visits you intend to before going to Sandhurst as you will not have time to do so there (despite what you might be told). So if you have even the most fleeting interest in some piece of the army, I would recommend that you go and have a look at it.

Finally, if you want to fly don't get sold the line: "if you join us you can then transfer to the AAC or serve on attachment." Although it is possible, lots of people have been burnt by this one as it is inevitably the wrong time in your career when you decide to cross over. Also with the length of pilot training, particularly for AH (Apache), if you do a couple of years in another part of the army and then go on the pilots' course, you will be that much older and will have effectively missed that part of your career.
 
#11
great post brave-coward,
very informative. Do you have a similar knowledge of the Royal Signals?
 
#12
Brave coward, agree with you on most of those points, apart from the pilot aptitude test. One of my mates flunked his first aptitude test for everything including Air traffic controller. He did lots of speed dist time, xbox type stuff and bought some kind of a computer programme on flying aptitude tests, and passed the next time, for both pilot and observer, and is now an operational pilot in the fleet air arm. My advice would be that if you know your mental maths and hand eye isnt exactly ninja like, then gen up on it as much as you can beforehand.
Could do better sounds like a switched on bloke, and not one of these people who wants to be an apache pilot, commando and para winged SAS ninja.
 
#13
Sorry, I'm afraid that I don't know a great deal about the R Signals Officer recruiting process, although it is likely to be similar to the RA one. I would expect to be sent on a large central potential officers' visit, probably to Blandford and to sit an interview with one or more retired senior officers in order to secure sponsorship. I can't comment on how competitive the selection process is, I would have thought a bit less so than most, however they probably look for a more technical bent in their potential officers than most.

ub2008 said:
Brave coward, agree with you on most of those points, apart from the pilot aptitude test. One of my mates flunked his first aptitude test for everything including Air traffic controller. He did lots of speed dist time, xbox type stuff and bought some kind of a computer programme on flying aptitude tests, and passed the next time, for both pilot and observer, and is now an operational pilot in the fleet air arm. My advice would be that if you know your mental maths and hand eye isnt exactly ninja like, then gen up on it as much as you can beforehand.
Could do better sounds like a switched on bloke, and not one of these people who wants to be an apache pilot, commando and para winged SAS ninja.
Well I am glad that you agree with at least some of what I have to say and I'm sure that Could do better feels personally uplifted that you think he is a switched on bloke.

I have heard the "play computer games to improve your chances on the pilot aptitude test" line and I can well believe that there is now a myriad of books and computer programmes you can buy to improve your chances but ultimately it comes down to individual ability and hard work on the courses.

The only other comment I would make is that although the pilot aptitude test is (or at least was) the same for each service, it is scored differently, meaning that in theory you could pass for the army but fail for the RN and RAF or pass for the RAF but fail for the RN, etc.
 
#14
I was looking at FR regiments, and although that's my ideal job I really wanted a regiment that was more 'family' orientated, and less toffy! I've heard the RA are like that?
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#15
coulddobetter,

In most of your posts you comment at some point that "you don't know much about (XYZ) unit/role".

That is what the fam visits are there to do - improve your knowledge and understanding of the unit/role/character etc. Don't select your fam visits based on what little you do know, as you might end up restricting your choices based on incorrect assumptions. For example, you say that you want Combat Support, but have not yet considered the RE, one of the key CS roles!

Get as many as you can, and as varied as you can. This will give you a more informed basis on which to make your choices.
 
#16
Exwing said:
I was looking at FR regiments, and although that's my ideal job I really wanted a regiment that was more 'family' orientated, and less toffy! I've heard the RA are like that?
I'm rather surprised by this comment and I would urge caution as it sounds like you may have been misinformed by someone. How "toffy" you regard a regiment to be is down to your own perception. The whole "how posh do you need to be to join the RAC" has been done to death in other threads (the answer is always the same and is that like for any other capbadge, your character and ability needs to be compatable with the regiment). I would also caution that there are a lot of people out there who know nothing about the RAC who seem intent to peddle misinformation. I would also suggest that you investigate the (to my mind) rather strange RA/RHA subculture within the gunners. I suspect there is something about this elsewhere on ARRSE and I am not the best person to comment anyway.

In terms of a family oriented regiment, I would argue that any of the single FR regiments are much more like a small family than any of the RA regiments. The reason is that despite it's title The Royal Regiment of Artillery is much more comparable to a corps than a regiment in many respects. It is huge and composed of a number of regiments within. It trickle posts its officers around these regiments so that they are only members of 26RA or 3RHA, etc. for as long as they are posted to them (normally 2 years). In the RAC you are a member of that small regiment (be it HCR, LD, QDG or 9/12L for FR) for life; of course you will be posted to jobs away from the regiment at times, but ultimately you with always be a Light Dragoon or a Queens Dragoon Guard or whatever it happens to be, hence much more like a family.

You might decide from this that the RA is the way ahead for you, indeed if you join the gunners you may work closely with FR, however from your comments above I believe that someone may have sold you a line. Investigate fully, go on both PO visits, listen to what the regiments say about themselves but not necessarily about one another.
 
#17
Thank you brave-coward, I meant no offence against the RAC. My information came from a Sgt who was in an infantry regiment, I am sure that most regiments have a positive family atmosphere. The RA were like a very large family when I did a PO visit, at sometimes more like a University than a mess.

I am eager to find out the character of some other messes before I make rash judgements.

Thanks again for your thorough responses.

(Main Board tomorrow, fingers crossed!)
 
#18
Exwing, best of luck with your AOSB. As I say listen to what the regiments say about themselves and what you see with your own eyes. Don't instantly take as red what other people say about them. This cuts both ways for RA and RAC. I have no axe to grind in either direction, but I am keen that people join the right part of the army for them and with their eyes open. Round pegs into round holes and square pegs into square holes makes for a happier and more combat effective army.
 
#19
Very useful information so thanks again. Now that I have three visits planned in one way or another (Air Corps, RAC and Infantry) I will probably leave it at that for now, if I am unsuccessful with the RAC and Air Corps then I would hope I would get an offer from the Infantry, which I would still be very happy to accept. My understanding is that it is not a sign on the dotted line type of decision and that you can change at Sandhurst should you get in. I don't really want to pester my ACA for another visit anyway I've had more than my fair share of time from them!

I will look to find out more about the Engineers in the coming months, I'm not ruling anything out at the mo, the prospect of being in the Army excites me regardless of Regiment. I look around my office full of 'successful' IT consultants and I see a lot of overweight, overpaid indiviuals who know too much about stuff that doesn't matter, any regiment will do!


brave-coward said:
Well I am glad that you agree with at least some of what I have to say and I'm sure that Could do better feels personally uplifted that you think he is a switched on bloke.
I really do, my Mum had always said so.
 
#20
This thread has been very useful thus far so thanks to all contributors.

I myself was on the same briefing earlier last week and got a CAT 2. The delay is for me to re-take maths GCSE, an ordeal I wasn't ever planning on going through again, however the group Captain said I was a clear CAT 1 apart form this which was a board decision. Unfortunately it turns out I won't be able to resit until June next year as I missed the January cut of. Hopefully my ACA can advise me on this but I'm hoping to still do the main board and get that squared away and then just get this damn GCSE up to scratch.

I'm still feeling exceptionally chipper about the whole thing as I think I surprised myself with my performance and can't wait to get back and have a crack at the main board.
 

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