TA Officer Direct Entry Scheme

The new direct entry officer training scheme allows a potential officers to commence their officer training right from the very start of their time in the TA. They are given the status of Officer Cadet and train with a potential officer wing.

Usually it was required that before going for commission a person interesting in becoming a TA officer would have to go through the recruit training path and spend at least some time as a private.

What do people think about this new scheme?

Is this the scheme you mean?

Module 1 A two week training course at Altcar Training Camp Merseyside from April 17 to May 4th 2004 in all basic military skills, including weapon training, signals, first aid, physical fitness, fieldcraft, map reading and military leadership techniques and procedures. So you need to book this time off with your employer now.

Module 2 This comprises 10 weekends of continuity training between May 14th to October 24th 2004.

Module 3 A 9 day tactics course from November 20th to 28th 2004 in preparation for you attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst 2005, the world famous Army training facility that embodies the prestige and privilege of being an officer in the British Army.

from http://www.ta.mod.uk/northwest/


i was made aware of it after my housemate recieved the new TA recruitment pack through the post. It requested it off the website. Its a large booklet that comes with a DVD. Theres a section for officer recruitment and it details the new scheme.

From what it says you train straight away as a potential officer, attending TCB, then going onto your initial officer training, then pre sandhurst, sandhurst and post sandhurst.

There a little about it on the Officer section of the TA website.


I think its a fairly new scheme so no doubt more info will filter through soon

From http://www.ta.mod.uk/officer/profile_ladd.html

"Some people don't like to be regimented and misguidedly regard the TA as a potential disadvantage to their life. However, for me it does nothing but enhance all areas of my life, both professionally and personally."

"I joined the TA about five years ago, initially because I had always been interested in outdoor pursuits and the TA seemed to be a logical extension of that. Only after I started looking into it did I learn about the skills I could gain in the TA and how they transfer into my civilian employment.

"One of the things that interested me was the chance to develop organisational and leadership skills, so I was keen to become an officer. I joined my local infantry unit and did all the soldier training that you would expect, before deciding that going to Sandhurst was the right route.

"My civilian job and the TA complement each other - the skills are completely transferable and mutually beneficial. This is important because it makes it more relevant for my employers, who are very good to give me time to work with the TA. Of course, the commitment does have to be from me and I do use a bit of holiday time as well, but it's important that my employers are on board.

"The TA offers quite a lot of training that people don't actually realise is relevant to the workplace - managerial, leadership, organisational training. There is a lot to take with me when I go back to work on a Monday. Some of my colleagues perhaps think I'm slightly mad to do it, but they can see that the skills I gain and the experiences I have outweigh any pressure on my time.

"For example, the TA offers a great opportunity to travel. Last year, I was in Oman on exercise, and I've also been to Germany, while some of my colleagues have been to Cyprus, Brunei, all around the world. Next week, I'm going to Scotland to do a mountain leader's course, which will enable me to take groups out on the mountains myself, which would be a very expensive qualification to get in civilian life."

Beats spending money on CBA doesn't it..... :roll:
Having read that, I thought this person must work in media, then I clicked on the link :roll:

PaddyRAC said:
I think its a fairly new scheme so no doubt more info will filter through soon
Nope - they've just dusted off the old DES scheme that ran in the mid-to-late 1980s/early 1990s.

(Of course, prior to 1986 or so, TA Officers didn't need to go to Sandhurst; TCB and a CO's interview was followed by a probationary 2Lt slot. Mind you, during the same time period, WRAC officers needed to do the flower-arranging course at Camberley..... you could argue that they were thus better trained :) )
Direct entry.. Grrrr... Having met some of these people recently I have had my opinion changed dramatically! I was all for the lets take Joe off the street and fire him\her through an intensive period of training and then fire them off to the factory. More officers for me to play with :0)

Now that I have met a selection of these people I am thinking... What is the selection process for allowing these people to recive the best military training in the world and even pretend for a second that they have what it takes to become leaders of the finest soldiers in the world! Admittedly I only met a hand full but all of them had the same "I'm better than you because you did time in the ranks" attitude. In addition to this despite their supposed years hard work they are not that good.... Now admitidly I was OTC so some may say you never did time in the ranks.... My reply is I served within a unit rank structure so I had it drilled into me to respect and listen to my seniors and that pretty much every soldier in the army knows more than an OCDT so listen when they give you advice.

My final reason for disliking direct entry is, I've now got two soldiers in my troop who want to commision. They are and will continue to get my full support as I know they are fantastic soldiers and will make outstanding officers. These guys have worked their backside's off for 2 years to become good at their trades and prove that they have what it takes to lead a body of soldiers. The DES guys have never had real soldiers to play with. It's fine telling your mates on the DES course what to do as they know your job and what your trying to achive so will help you out. It's a different story with soldiers who are cold wet and having an outbreak of NFI. Having said that i'm lucky and all my guy's and girl's are switched on to f$!k.
fatcakes said:
Direct entry.. Grrrr...
The big question is whether it's efficient to send potential hofficers through their Phase 2 soldier training (e.g. CIC) as well as their TAPO training, rather than instead of it. Other than that, there isn't much difference between a PO picked up after six months in the TA, or one picked up at the start.

All of these schemes have been tried before; I'm just waiting for Ex FAST TRACK to make its third appearance (solid period of continuous training, induction to the factory, civvy to 2Lt in a couple of months).

As ever, good people will do well no matter the system, numpties do badly. I've known awful DES officers, and some great officers with soldier service - and vice versa. All you can ask for is that there is a reasonable level of "selection" built into the process, rather than just "self-selection".
Have to agree with fatcakes final paragraph, if they have demonstrated their ability to master the basics of their role then they should be encouraged to go on to the other place.

The issue I have with Direct Entry or OTC officers is the lack of exposure they have to the 'average' soldier. They need to learn what it is like to be around and then motivate someone who is cold, wet and uninterested in being there and is not an (intelligent?) undergraduate, rather than their potential officer peers who are trying to prove they are all capable of being comissioned. They are also then less likely to forget that the guys they subsequently command have been doing it a bit longer then themselves, have seen much of it before and may also have skills they don't have themselves in their professional careers and use them properly rather than "you're not an officer so your opinion cannot be valid". Sounds bitter but don't intend to, just bored of being abused by those who forget there is life outside the Army.

Is there such a problem in recruiting one pip wonders anyway as I only have to lift a bergan and there is another one hiding behind it!
Agree to a point about OTC's but the majority of OTC folk do get a chance to go on attachment and this is were the I'm better than you gets kicked out of them.. On an attachment an OCDT will usually be acting as a private soldier. In this way the OCDT's get to see that they know next to nothing against even a recruit out of basic. This helped me when I went to a normal TA unit as I know that all my guys know there jobs better than me.
Gravelbelly said:
(Of course, prior to 1986 or so, TA Officers didn't need to go to Sandhurst; TCB and a CO's interview was followed by a probationary 2Lt slot.
Well I was commissioned in 1984 and I had to go to Sandhurst - note not Camberley and I was WRAC (spit) then (we had no choice). Don't remeber much flower-arranging (I wish...)

Agree with you that the good ones will do well regardless, but also agree that it can be very demoralising for a soldier who is a PO to have to go right throough Phase 2 trg and then "start again" with PO trg - usuaully with a bunch of OTC OCdts who are younger than he/she is. We need to make this process shorter if we are to capitalise on the talent in the ranks.

As regards the DE one pip wonders who think they know it all - well that's what your SNCOs and WOs are there for - to make them realise they don't - it certainly worked for me..... :oops:

I'm somewhat interested to read your opinions on this as the course stated, the lovely Altcar, is the one i'm currently part of.

In fact I was in the first selection syndicate nationwide for this program... not something I'll own up to elsewhere as a lot of the people put "more PT/Obstacle courses" on their course review forms. Something I'm sure the following syndicates appreciated.

A note to make is that each Brigade is running their own program, BUT it's slightly staggered so if you miss one course you should be able to attend it in a different area.

The one thing that surprised me was that we won't be assigned a unit until just a little bit before Sandhurst in January. However it makes a bit of sense as we're training as one platoon until the very end (minus whoever is rejected by TAMB).

I'm sure some of the concerns expressed hold some merit but I would assure you all that having been briefed and having read what is to come, it won't be an easy cakewalk.

There will be no campfires and cakes for us. The OTC nicked them all...
I joined in 1973 and went to Sandhurst in 1977. There was no other option to commissioning (unless you were a very special specialist). What was very different in those days was the District Board. None of this command task, probing interview chaps walking round with milboards type stuff. You were reccomended by your CO and presented yourself before the board who ascertained that you had two of everything you visibly needed and then took your COs word that you were good enough.

What I want to know about this new system is;

How are these potential officers going to get any experience of Tom! If they join a unit and then spend the first year or so wandering around being fast tracked (at a reasonably intensive rate) how are they going to get to know and love their soldiers. Do we really want officers with no knowledge of those excellent fellows, the Men at Arms. The regular army gets away with it (but in many cases only just) because of the relative permanence of the soldiers.

What is the motivation of people who join to be officers. I joined an Infantry Bn as a 17 yr old with a vague notion that a commission would be something to aim at. I enjoyed inf soldiering and I became very committed to the unit. My regiment/Bn/Coy was my motivation and I just wonder whether this system will produce people with the same loyalty.

But then I'm just an old fart.
Firstly, I apologise for sticking my regular nose into this fascinating discussion, and I 'm being serious.

The Army already take Gap Year people on SSLC for a year, and the vast majority are jolly good (and I hate civvies).

I fail to see the difference here. I accept the good points about ability to lead soldiers etc (I was one myself for a number of years) but what's wrong with taking young and keen men and women and allowing them to develop into their roles and responsibilities?

After all, courses can only teach you so much. After that, it's application and hard graft (as you all know! :D )

So, let's leave off these remarkable men and women of all ranks who devote part of their lives to our Army, in addition to working in civvy street. Who cares how they get to their units, as long as they cherish our ideals, understand their responsibilies, and learn?

Cheers - rant over! I will now accept incoming! :D
I myself would argue your point Mushroom.

Surely it is better than we are being trained first, to lead, failing together and passing together so that when we do get to a unit we aren't falling flat on our face?

I fully admit the only non officers we'll meet will be Warrant Officers but I severely doubt if they'll let us forget the men who it is our honour to be responsible for the welfare of.

There are six values and standards we were told from day one we would be expected to uphold. You've probably heard them all before but i'll reiterate them with a few extra notes.

Selfless commitment - The core of what your concerns are Mushroom, the necessity of putting others before you, be it your men or others.

Courage - To face up to danger and do what is right.

Discipline - To maintain the highest standards, so that others may rely on you.

I find that to be a very important one, if we haven't trained to reach the hgihest standards how can we project them to the soldiers we will be coming into contact with?

Integrity - To earn the respect and trust of your comrades.

Loyalty - To be faithful to your comrades and duty.

Respect for others - To treat others with decency at all times.

These are what we are being trained to meet. These are the personal standards that I would not accept any failure on my part in.

I'd hope that you would give us your support to become the sort of officers you'd like to have, rather than doubt us.

I'm readily aware of my current lack of knowledge but I'm willing to learn and I truely hope that this forum is a place where, if I need a question answering so I can better develop along this scheme, I can rely on the many experianced members to help as best they can.

Positive attitudes can shape futures a lot better than negative ones. :)[/b]
I must confess as to a level of ignorance as to how the system works/worked. In 1981 I turned up at my unit as a Sub-Lt RN and was transformed into a Lt with two years seniority. However, I was told that I had to do the Platoon Commander's Course PDQ.

I don't have a major objections to DES, surely it is not too dissimilar to that done in the Regs. Namely, they go via the "fun factory" and appear fully formed from the box at their unit to lead and learn.

I have to agree with Mushroom - he is an old fart. There again, he could argue that my fragrance is fairly aged.
I think you've stated half of the issue there Gas. Officers should be at units with the skill set, for theory, ready to use and then be able to learn in practice IF there is mobilisation.

The other half is that there's a shortage of officers and this is a way to get a good batch through.

After all one of the things we were told was that when they're looking at mobilisation they'll be taking the standard soldiers and the Subalterns.

They're not short of Warrant officers or Lt Colonels.
Gas man I have more hair than you (must be all the time you spend wearing your respirator) and I know where you stand at the bar.

My point is that these fast track types will be very much like OTC trained officers were when I was a subby. Reasonably well trained, good at the theory but sadly lacking in the practical skills of man management. I seem to remember in the late 80s' my officer cadets going off one weekend a month to some form of collective trg and spending the other three with the Coy/Bn. They got the theory and the practice. This new system seems to me that it will produce a crop of 2Lts who will have to learn the man management side. And in the infantry that's 50% of the job.
Mushroom can you tell me more about what you mean with the man management side?

The more you and others can tell me now about the concerns with things like this then I can ask the pertinent questions when module one Q&A session comes.

It's a programme they're looking to do now and change flexibly as time goes on, as far as I can tell. We're very much the guinea pigs.

So if you can tell me the sides you think we'll be lacking and, wonderfully, any possible soloutions it'd be a great help. As I'm awaiting life as a university student, albeit a slightly older one, I'm willing to put the time in for anything suggested.

All they can do is say no and possibly turn me over to the PTIs... or one of the host of Warrant Officers... ok... starting to look less appealing... ;)

Seriously though, things like this are appreciated. I'm dedicated to get through the training and end up as a good 'finished product'. Especially as I'm looking to the regulars after university (avoiding the OTC for good reason).

Anyway enoguh of my ramblings, the floor is yours...
Antphillip - The OTC is not that bad - there is a good social life and lots of useful trips to Regular units.

Difficult to talk about man management for many reasons as it involves personality and style and whatever feels right for you and the chaps you deal with. There's the obvious one of gaining knowledge about those little scams every soldier pulls (sir I've hurt me hand - 2Lt Mush full of concern - CSM asks who he hit and why). There's the problem about what you call the men. I know some officers who only used surnames and others that used first names. The former were thought stiff and the latter soft. Personally I knew the common user title of all my chaps and used it whenever I was being informal (except WOs who were always addressed by their rank - a great friend of mine was an RSM and though now long retired, he is still Tara) and their proper rank and name when being formal.

Man management isn't something that can be taught, it's something that is acquired by exposure to men (and dropping lots of bollocks ) - it's knowing who to trust, when to be firm and when to turn a blind eye. It can't be learned from books but try reading George MacDonald Frasers books Quartered Safe Out Here, McAuslan in the Rough and other Stories and the General Danced till Dawn. Life as a Pte facing the Japs in 1945 and as a Subby in North Africa in 46/47. They might give you some idea of the task.

I was (and I suppose always will be at heart) an infantry officer brought up in a system where the kit was cleaned and the men put to bed (or the Naafi) before I even considered myself. I still find it difficult, working at Bde and Div, to join the food queue as I was always taught that an officer always ate last in case the food ran out and some of the boys had to do without. As an officer cadet/subby I always had better and more experienced men telling me where I had gone wrong but even they couldn't tell me where to go right. It's an experience thing and it's the best part of the job. That's why I'm so suspicious of this new system.

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