TA Continuous Attitude Survey results

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by delivering_capability, May 4, 2012.

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  1. As much as one cannot read too much into the TA Continuous Attitude Survey (self selecting sample etc), it was striking to see such a chasm between the views of the junior ranks and everybody else in this year's results (available on ArmyNet).

    A large proportion of JRs want more training, think existing training (particularly drill nights) is aimless, think the TA could make more of their experience, and want to commit more of their time to the TA

    JRs are the TA demographic that have really stepped up to the plate on HERRICK, undoubtedly punching above their weight relative to their seniors in many cases. Often it is the JRs in a unit that have the most recent and relevant operational experience.

    It is clear that at Sgt and above people are much happier with training delivered (aside from MATTs....). But what can be done to improve training for the JRs, harnessing their drive to contribute more?
  2. walkyrie

    walkyrie Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I did the survey and remember thinking "some of these questions are quite leading" and/or poorly structured.

    Something we're trying to do more is get the Seniors less involved in delivering drill night training.

    45 Minutes of (sometimes not particularly well structured) teaching on a current, Operationally relevant topic (e.g. ground sign) delivered by a recently returned JR is (in my opinion) infinitly better than yet another DITs perfect lesson on Bergan Packing/Basha construction.

    Fortunately we're blessed with Seniors who recognise they're out of the loop and are happy to hand over the reins when appropiate.
  3. Here's how I try to keep the JRs happy. I'm not saying it's perfect but it seems to be working:

    1. Ignore MTD caps, if MTDs are being expended on valid military training. People join the TA to do military training. As the survey suggests, JRs want more training. They don't understand why there should be a restriction on their doing valid training. They don't understand why the Army, after promising to train them, rations the training as soon as they get in. So I try to make good on the Offer and allow the guys to do the training which is on their employment structure as quickly as they are able to, and to attend as many exercises, range weekends and other proper activities as they can. This approach causes something of a budgetary white-knuckle ride for the PSAO and me towards the end of the training year, and there is a risk of a 20p-5p moment with a brigadier, but hey ho.

    2. Deliver streamed training on drill nights (crow to weekend 4 of TSC(A); weekend 5 of TSC(A) to LCpl; LCpl and above) which is integrated with what is coming up in the exercise calendar.

    3. Allow those with recent op experience to help develop exercise MELs and (of course) to assist with delivery of drill night training.

    To be honest, I think that the disparity between the views of JRs and Sgts and above is primarily caused by MTD restrictions on the amount of training the TA chain of command will (or can) allow their guys to do. Sgts and above are older, tend to have families, more responsibility at work, etc., and so many are quite happy with only drill nights, a weekend per month and a fortnight a year. The "chasm" is only partly due to loss of mojo.

    As regards this statement: "JRs are the TA demographic that have really stepped up to the plate on HERRICK, undoubtedly punching above their weight relative to their seniors in many cases. Often it is the JRs in a unit that have the most recent and relevant operational experience."

    You clearly have access to data which I do not. I can only speak for my own subunit, in which recent and relevant operational experience is pretty evenly spread through all ranks from LCpl upwards. Equally, those stepping up to the plate are a representative cross-section of the rank structure. I must say that there is a hint of innuendo in the way your question was put which suggests that (a) those in the rank of Sgt and upwards are shying away from mobilisation and (b) those in the ranks of Sgt and above are happy with aimless drill nights, etc. That does not, at all, match what I see.
  4. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator


    Agreed. Whilst I have now handed over the office of doom, I followed a similar path with a fair degree of success.

    The "juniors are all experienced, the seniors and officers don't have a clue" bit is just as unfamiliar to me as it is to you. OC, 2IC, CSM, CQMS, PL Sgts, several Pl Comds - all with operational experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and frequently both.

    I guess it is very unit specific, so I would be loath to make broad brush statements.
  5. DR E

    Not at all, my unit has extremely relevant operational experience at all levels.

    The comment about JRs having *the most* recent and relevant operational experience comes from friends across the TA from a range of cap badges. This is as much to do with the specific HERRICK TTPs and equipment than any attempt to big up the juniors.
  6. walkyrie

    walkyrie Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    Dr_E - I think I love you.

    I would agree with all of the above about experience across the ranks being very different between different units - I have only answered from my current perspective.

    Additionally, the statistics are presumably skewed by human nature. People are more likely to score training as "shit" if they've had one minor hiccup, whilst very few will score it as "perfect" as theres always room for improvement.
  7. Parade night training will always depend on how many bodies you have on parade and what kit you have to maintain. It may well be pairs fire and maneouvre on the cards, but, by the time two have gone off to do something in the stores and another one has gone to fill in an individual pay sheet for last weekend you are left with very few for your fire team.

    Add to that a need to maintain equipment which in itself is a full time job and you find you have very little time for training in the two hours allotted for a parade night, which in itself is usually less than that.
  8. Perhaps more regular feedback from the Jnrs to Snrs in the form of validation forms would highlight any flaws or problems to those organising and conducting the training. As a PTI i rarely get feedback as to whether a lesson has gone well or not. I have to try and analyse it myself which is diffuicult as im not the one blowing our of my arrse.

    Im not saying validation of every drill night or every lesson but perhaps quarterly or six monthly reviews of training.
  9. I was thinking along the same lines, a local attitude survey of sorts.
  10. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Why? Their attitude is whatever I tell them it will be! ;-)
  11. Well, being a grumpy old senior I'm sure as hell not elated about the way we do things at the moment and I know that compared to a lot of units we're extremely well off.

    I think your perception of the problems changes with rank. The way the Army is structured to book what's needed for training and deliver it is frankly piss poor and should be a source of shame from CGS downwards. Deploying the big hand small map template for sweeping assumptions, seniors/officers tend to be the ones involved in sorting this shit out. A lot of that happens out of uniform, if you're lucky you get paid something towards it. So we do what we can with effort unseen by the juniors and make the best of it. Delivering what we do is maxing many out, delivering more means making sorting this shit out easier.

    Same for drill nights, for many that's a vital couple of hours to battle the admin dragon to make the weekend happen. A full time sized MS burden for the TA doesn't help either. And don't give me the party line shit that it's easy and shouldn't take long, it ******* isn't and doesn't if you're going to do it properly.

    To that we then add the worrying systemic inability of the Regular element to realise that the TA needs to plan ahead a lot more than they do, especially at senior ranks where family and career start to get in the way. The few who can can go overboard and then we get creeping excellence. Hence a lack of planning 12 months ago when MTDs were tight shows up now.

    Rampant course inflation is another one, two weeks (ie a years CQE) to cram a couple of weekends work in. That makes generating instructors slow.

    So yes, I do sympathise and we are trying to change things. However, until the Army actually changes something then we can only do so much. After all, doing the same things and expecting a different result is the very definition of idiocy.
    • Like Like x 3
  12. we have a comments box, for anom remarks, ideas etc....ignoring the SSM is a tool letters, some interesting points have come out and have reflected on what we do on drill nights.
  13. There is a polarisation of the old STAB and new op experienced type.

    The TA old school are only just one up from the cadets. A senior with no tours has no kudos in my experience. The blokes are wise to it too.
  14. Probably true to some extent but do you actually know the old guard? Most of what I would call old school, did the tour and then left over the last few years. Those that remain tend to be wo2's now.

    Tend to think the junco/Snco gap mentioned in the report is real but was caused by the shift in focus towards individual basic skills. If you've done a tour and then found your skill base generally dropped towards this level, also while ur on tour those that stayed at home clocked up instructor quals to train the basic individual.... What happens next?