TA Course attendance

This weekend I attended an instructors course, the joining instructions listed 32 confirmed candidates to attend. Everyone had to be booked in & pre-course admin squared away no later than 2200hrs on the Friday. This was very clearly stated on the joining instructions.

11 people turned up that night and we were graced with the presence of 3 others the following morning.

Out of 32, 14 turned up. I’ve never run a course so I have no idea what the expected ratio’s are for attendance but if anybody thinks that’s acceptable then it’s a fcuking poor show we’re putting on.

Did something exceptional/unfortunate happen all 18 people who didn’t turn up, so much so that they couldn’t make a phone call in advance?

I only made the course though a cancellation I didn’t expect to get on the course until mid 2007, how many other people are waiting months to get on courses because they are fully loaded, when in reality less than half are turning up?

What is the come back on those that couldn’t be bothered to turn up or notify the course admin in advance?

Embarrassing & unprofessional, hand your kit in if you can’t be arrsed to play the game.



It is a common problem, and a real nausea for the training centres. As for come back? Usually a snottogram to the Adjt/TM, who then passes it down the chain. The soldier in question comes up with an excuse and it all gets lost in the mists of time.

I use the system by occasionally sending soldiers to courses on the off chance, properly documented and prepared, ready to take up any spare places which appear. I do not think I have had one refused yet.

My unit used to do the same for local District run courses and not one was sent back - I also remember this happening with a reg run course at Warminster (but that was years ago now).

It always infuriated me when bods failed to turn up from other units, especially when I waited so long for the course.
The_Duke said:
It is a common problem, and a real nausea for the training centres.
I can imagine, im only attending the course and i'm disgusted.

There should be some form of rebuke for failing to attend with out prior notification (notification period be of reasonable time to allow units to propose alternative candidates), excluding exceptional circumstances.

How about barring those offenders from re-applying for a minimum period? Making way for those who are interested and/or serious about career progression to get on.


One issue is that it is often only one soldier per unit, so the tendancy may be for the unit to view it as not a real problem. Only when it is taken in the overall context of 50% non-attendance it is more obviously a problem.

Personally, I will not rebid for a soldier who has failed to attend without notice until I am convinced that he has served his pennance. Someone who gives me even a day or twos notice to enable me to find a replacement or cancel with the training centre may be given fewer hail Marys and forgiven sooner.

Edited to add - I am sure that the courses clerks at the training centres keep a keen eye on this, and repeat offending units may find that their bids are not as successful as time goes on.
In no particular order:

I've seen soldiers demoted for not attending a booked course.

I've seen soldiers asked to attend a course on 3 days notice, and then rifted because they couldn't get two weeks off work at such short notice.

I've seen folk manage to get on courses by ringing up on the Friday the course is due to start and asking if there were any spare places.

I've seen people rock up on a course without any booking, and still be accepted.

I've seen people arrive on a course, having been booked in weeks in advance, to be told their place doesn't exist anymore, "didn't you get the message" and been sent home.

Does this sort of thing happen in the Regular Army or is it the nature of the TA beast?
Our local RTC replies to course bookings via fax to all interested units.
I applied for a course a while ago and not hearing anything assumed that I had not received a place.
A few months later, I called the RTC to ask about course loading, as I did not hear about the previous course, only to be told that I had failed to turn up for the last one! It transpired that my PSAO specifically requested that our unit was removed from the fax list! Fortunately the person at the other end of the phone was more than reasonable about this, now I find it is easiest to speak to the RTC direct, find out about vacancies and submit the course application to both them and my Squadron, thus guaranteeing that I am on the course, and ensureing that everyone is happy, although this only works for me because my SHQ is 300 miles away and I am attached personel.


I've seen people arrive on a course, having been booked in weeks in advance, to be told their place doesn't exist anymore, "didn't you get the message" and been sent home.
My mate who being a self employed builder took 2 weeks off and cleared his diary to attend SCBC only to find out that the Bn had changed its mind, not told him about the now mandatory pre brecon weekend and therefore withdrawn him. He eventually left went R sigs and is an SSM.
The worst thing about the pre brecon weekend was that he would have been taught by the most recent passes of the course. That would have been me, they didnt tell me either so those that attended were given 30 hours of drivel from an old stores cpl who had been there about 15 years before.
He didnt need the pre weekend and I'm sure if the Pln cdr & sgt had fought for him he would have gone.
We spent a lot of time prepping and he was as ready as anyone.
Typical cold war re enactors!
I did a week-long course with my civvy employer last year, which had to be booked six months in advance. If we couldn't attend, we had to give at least two weeks notice unless there was a family emergency or something similar. Those that didn't show or didn't give enough notice had to pay £150 to the organisers.
I got on my CMS(R) by chance. My PSI at the time told me to get packed and got me a copy of the joining instructions and told them that I lived 1.5 hours away and could get there in the morning if no one turned up!

In the end got a call through 3 days in advance.



Cait said:
Out of 32, 14 turned up. I’ve never run a course so I have no idea what the expected ratio’s are for attendance but if anybody thinks that’s acceptable then it’s a fcuking poor show we’re putting on.
Pretty similar experience here, 20something on the joining instructions, 13 turn up.

As this (DITs) is a popular course with frequent waiting lists for people attending it's a sad state of affairs when the course is so lightly loaded. Taking to the WO2 in the bar it seems it's pretty standard and he recommended in future if I wanted a course to give them a ring direct and try and get on the travelling reserve list. It seems it's very rare that they aren't accepted.


I ran a course for TA lads called spring cadre, we were over subscribed and even had a lad from 2 Queens I think attend. Good fun all round but we trained the locals to B2 Assault Pioneer standard in 2 weeks so classed it as a B3 course to allow for lack of time to do the syllabus in enough depth. No digging beyond 1 day, most 1/2 week modules were 2 days and they worked through the weekend. I dont remember doing watermanship but it was a long time ago. It wasnt my first course and I soon realised that I would permanently be training others rather than benefitting myself!
Our lot have taken the hard-lines route with courses of late; you don't get a camp release form signed by your employer, hard lines, you're not going.
I was meant to have been on SF section commander (MMG not 49 Para) as of the last weekend but not allowed to do it as I have ran out of MTD's. Although the course dates did change from the end of the month to the start and we only found out early December which meant the guy I was meant to be going down with not going either as he couldnt change his time off from work.

Like Fluffybunny said, seen guys getting on courses by ringing up on the Friday and checking for cancelations, guys getting a phone call the friday before being told the course has been binned. Also guys just rock up on courses and getting on.

Depending on your situation if you have bid for a course and have the time (i.e student/unemployed etc) may aswell rock up at the start of the course and as they say not bluff too tough!

Those that were booked on the course and never tipped up should be posted AWOL. As you say cait, they should have been on duty at 2200hrs.
The TA want to be considered as real soldiers then they should act like one. I realise the system shafts you aswell but thats life. to those that do take it seriously then these guys are seriously letting you down


I know of troops being booked on a course of which they werent even informed. If a guy doesnt get to his TAC then how will he know? Doesnt anyone in COC use e mail or telephones?


Nice idea Ugly, but the amount of phones that are miraculously turned off on training nights is amazing.

Honestly, you would think that they were worried that somebody might call them up to check is they were going to come in for training!

A degree of self responsibility is required here. If a soldier asks for a course, and is told that he has had a bid put in for it, they should make sure that they keep an eye on it, not just wait until the bid is confirmed to let somebody know that he cannot get the time off work anymore.


What about the unit ps admin people doing that on non training nights?
I attended a course at RMAS recently scaled for 40 and only 30 turned up - a couple did call or could not attend for genuine reasons but all who failed to attend otherwise - let the TA down badly.

Its a common sense to at least call if you cannot make it. As they were all LE's I would hazard to suggest they revert to rank they obviously should not hold the rank they do if they do not have the balls to at least get in contact. They would have known they were due to go at least 6 weeks in advance if not longer.

Either way each CO of the man concerned got a direct call from the General and a de brief without coffee - I do hope it was passed on :)


P.S However its not purely a TA thing regulars do the same on their course
It's not even a mil problem - you should see how many people fail to turn up for internal training courses at work. Unless it is going to hit them personally in the pocket, they don't care.


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