Sandhurst chief says army needs character not university degrees

#1
Major General Nanson CBE has raised a very valid point. Arguably some of it arises to increase the recruiting pool, but equally diversity in educational background and enthusiasm over cleverness does have apart to play in the selection of our Officer corps.
This also comes from an excellent, generous and selfless commander.
Sandhurst chief says army needs character not university degrees
 
#2
Cleverness is very important. A degree just isn't a good measure of it.

In days past, attending university showed dedication and commitment. Today, it's the default option. It just means you lacked the initiative to do anything other than follow the pack.
 
#3
I've mentioned this before on the forum, but...

Never confuse education with intelligence, they are two completely different things.

Cheers,
Dan.
 
#4
Cleverness is very important. A degree just isn't a good measure of it.

In days past, attending university showed dedication and commitment. Today, it's the default option. It just means you lacked the initiative to do anything other than follow the pack.
I totally agree, especially as you can go to a university and get any number of degrees in a vast array of spurious subjects, that have absolutely no relevance in the real world.

Higher education these days is a business rather than an achievement for the individual, and quite frankly intelligence and common sense does not enter the equation.
 
#5
Character is essential for leaders. Staff officers (the bulk of an officers career) are rarely called upon to display leadership.

Army recruiting is currently not going well.

Degrees are very expensive.


Offer people a job, money, career and degree and you may become an attractive prospect.

You can then assimilate them so they never want to leave.

Many 18 yr old non-grads struggle at sandhurst compared to grads.

It would be rubbish being 19 at RMAS instead of drinking and screwing like a good student.

Fitting in a degree on top of being an officer at RD sounds rubbish.
 
#6
Cleverness is very important. A degree just isn't a good measure of it.

In days past, attending university showed dedication and commitment. Today, it's the default option. It just means you lacked the initiative to do anything other than follow the pack.
Balls, if thats the case why bother with education at all.
 
#9
Higher education makes sense if you're going into medicine or engineering, but 3 years of social studies isn't going to make you an effective leader.
That is fine, but where do you draw the line with educational standards to even begin to allow access to a recruitment process for Officer training.
 
#11
Set a basic maths/English test and go off that?
Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a SNCO Instructor at an Officer training establishment.
Admittedly it was only for young would be Reserve Officers, who did a separate course from the regular Officers.
I am afraid to say, that in my experience, there is a lot more in the selection of a potential Officer, than Maths/English, although that is a definite start.
 
#12
If they want people with a bit of character and life experience, source more officers from the junior ranks. They could even take them as recruits. I am aware that this does happen, but if they're after young, capable individuals who haven't gone down the university route then surely looking inward is the first logical step.
 
#13
Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a SNCO Instructor at an Officer training establishment.
Admittedly it was only for young would be Reserve Officers, who did a separate course from the regular Officers.
I am afraid to say, that in my experience, there is a lot more in the selection of a potential Officer, than Maths/English, although that is a definite start.
I agree, but (in my unqualified opinion) I reckon it tells you as much as 3 years on a media studies course. I think age is probably the biggest advantage graduates have over non-grads.
 
#14
You can then assimilate them so they never want to leave.
Do you really want people like that though? I still think that a good chunk of the problem is that the time between an all too brief sting as platoon/troop commander the next opportunity to do what most sign up for is too bloody long. So the dynamic types get bored, the mercenary types go and do something that pays better and you're left with... well.

Maybe we should have some sort of revival of half-pay (although probably more like fifth-pay) for those who can't hack seven years of staff work (although some Staff experience is obviously necessary, if nothing else WWI taught us that) and can't get an interesting gig with THEM or the AAC. They could do their degree then or cross the Andes by Frog or whatever while at the same time adding some actual quality and maybe enthusiasm to the Reserve.
 
#15
If they want people with a bit of character and life experience, source more officers from the junior ranks. They could even take them as recruits. I am aware that this does happen, but if they're after young, capable individuals who haven't gone down the university route then surely looking inward is the first logical step.
I also agree with that, with the proviso that they meet the educational and intellectual standards that are set.
 
#16
I agree, but (in my unqualified opinion) I reckon it tells you as much as 3 years on a media studies course. I think age is probably the biggest advantage graduates have over non-grads.
Read my comment on spurious degrees, and the real world.
 
#17
Higher education makes sense if you're going into medicine or engineering, but 3 years of social studies isn't going to make you an effective leader.
Oh I dunno, 3 years of studying soft fabrics and pastel shades ought to be enough to get anyone into 3 para. And with a BA degree (attended) course behind them, they might easily become mortar platoon commander.
 
#18
Many 18 yr old non-grads struggle at sandhurst compared to grads.

It would be rubbish being 19 at RMAS instead of drinking and screwing like a good student.
I had a great time thanks. And I got my fair share as well.

Are you sure today's Army wants characters? I know it needs them but does it want them?
 
#19
Didn't take my degree until I ended my commission (ie post-captaincy). Had enough experience by then to apply my practical knowledge to an academic discipline.
 
#20
I believe everybody should be given a chance in the army. Damn qualifications but also welcome them. The point is if you have what it takes to serve then you should be allowed to no matter what your formal civilian qualifications.
 

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