TA - Some questions

#1
Afternoon all!

Am 21 looking to potentially get involved with the TA, have made initial enquiries, got in touch with my local unit and will be visiting them in next couple of weeks.

Have spoken to work, they're very on board, which is particularly good because I do have to work some weekends but as long as I'm reasonable and flexible they're more than willing to be the same which is great!

I'm still trying to get some facts, so first off the commitment, I see a lot of figures being banded about 27 days / 19 days dependent on the type of unit, 1 evening a week, 1 weekend a month and a two week camp seems to be the pattern most units follow, which is more than 27 days straight off the bat, so what's the actual 'real' expectation? (for example I work 39 hours a week, but in real terms i'm there closer to 45/50) I'm also particularly interested in the first year i.e. during phase 1 & 2 training.

Secondly in your experience, how do you find balancing your work and the TA, for example, working Monday to Friday then Friday to Sunday with your unit, to return to work on Monday morning?

Lastly what's the make up of the TA in terms of jobs, for example I work in retail management, it's flexibility will be both a positive and potentially a negative at times. What sorts of jobs do the people of the TA do in civie street and how do they find it suits their lives in the TA?

When / If I join I want to be very commited to the TA, what im doing is trying to figure out if this will be possible for me, as to not waste anyone's time! So any help you guys could give me will be... Well, helpful?!

Many Thanks

Smithy2
 
#2
First of all what unit are you thinking of joining, as if its infantry the inital training is structured slightly differently? Ok so with regards to commitment all you have to really worry at the moment is your recruit training. You'll do one weekend on, one off, for a total of 9weekends (for inf, 6 everyone else). If you can't make a weekend then, depending on what stage you're at, you'll re-do your last one and then continue from there. Once this has been completed you'll do a two week camp. Once you're a fully trained soldier you can start to worry about the 27days, although many would probably agree that in the current climate you'll easily exceed that. In my unit for example, we have a weekend nearly every other week, whether thats company or battalion led.

With regards to balancing the TA with your civilian career: it can be hard at times but this differs from person to person. Personally I found it difficult arranging time for my CIC (Inf phase 2) but then I suppose many also struggle to get two weeks off work.
 
#3
First of all what unit are you thinking of joining, as if its infantry the inital training is structured slightly differently? Ok so with regards to commitment all you have to really worry at the moment is your recruit training. You'll do one weekend on, one off, for a total of 9weekends (for inf, 6 everyone else). If you can't make a weekend then, depending on what stage you're at, you'll re-do your last one and then continue from there. Once this has been completed you'll do a two week camp. Once you're a fully trained soldier you can start to worry about the 27days, although many would probably agree that in the current climate you'll easily exceed that. In my unit for example, we have a weekend nearly every other week, whether thats company or battalion led.With regards to balancing the TA with your civilian career: it can be hard at times but this differs from person to person. Personally I found it difficult arranging time for my CIC (Inf phase 2) but then I suppose many also struggle to get two weeks off work.
Thanks for your answer! Yes infantry is what im interested in. Couple of follow up questions, if you don't mind, the training will be one weekend on one off, how far in advanced will you know the dates of these? Also will the dates for the two weeks at the end of the infantry training be given well in advanced? Is this two weeks inclusive of or in addition to the two week camp? Same with the training weekends versus weekends with your unit? How easy is it to get onto the 10 day phase 1 training?
 
#4
Thanks for your answer! Yes infantry is what im interested in. Couple of follow up questions, if you don't mind, the training will be one weekend on one off, how far in advanced will you know the dates of these? Also will the dates for the two weeks at the end of the infantry training be given well in advanced? Is this two weeks inclusive of or in addition to the two week camp? Same with the training weekends versus weekends with your unit? How easy is it to get onto the 10 day phase 1 training?
IIRC I was given my dates just after I was attested because you can't be 'loaded on' until you're in; CIC dates were given at the same time, although it will no doubt differ from unit to unit. You need to have a chat with the unit about doing a consolidated version of your phase one as they only happen a couple of times a year. Due to various reasons my unit's camp got scrapped and so we were told to find an alternative two week course, and so yes CIC can count as that for the year.
 
#5
IIRC I was given my dates just after I was attested because you can't be 'loaded on' until you're in; CIC dates were given at the same time, although it will no doubt differ from unit to unit. You need to have a chat with the unit about doing a consolidated version of your phase one as they only happen a couple of times a year. Due to various reasons my unit's camp got scrapped and so we were told to find an alternative two week course, and so yes CIC can count as that for the year.
Good to get an actual view on things! Okay, so between being attested how long was it for you before your first weekend of IIRC? From what youve said if you get your two week CIC dates at the same time that gives 4/5 months notice which wouldn't be too bad in terms of arranging time off work!Essentially it should be assumed that whilst training, upto and including CIC, that the commitment will be every other weekend and one evening a week? Once that's been completed, then it's 'officially' 27 days a year, but more likely 1/2 weekends a month, plus the evening in the week and a two week camp. Is that correct? I understand it will depend on unit etc etc.Once trained and CIC completed etc, what would be the position of the TA (more so the real position of those within the unit than the official party line) if you were unable to attend a weekends training with your unit due to work commitment / amount of notice given for the training weekend? (I.e. I can't do this weekend because I've got work and I haven't had enough notice to even try to re-arrange anything?) or is plenty of notice usually given in your opinion?
 
#6
Secondly in your experience, how do you find balancing your work and the TA, for example, working Monday to Friday then Friday to Sunday with your unit, to return to work on Monday morning?
To be honest it can be very tiring. It depends on what you've been doing though. If you've been on signals course or a range weekend the chances are you'll have had a decent amount of sleep if you aren't out drinking too late on the Saturday, But if you've been on an Infantry exercise type weekend with patrolling at night, stags, platoon attacks etc you will be knackered.

That said your TA "work" will be very different from your civilian one and the change in the middle of what will be effectively a 12 day stretch of work can be quite beneficial.

Lastly what's the make up of the TA in terms of jobs, for example I work in retail management, it's flexibility will be both a positive and potentially a negative at times. What sorts of jobs do the people of the TA do in civie street and how do they find it suits their lives in the TA?
I was Computer Analyst/Programmer during most of my TA Infantry career. So it was generally Mon - Fri for similar hours to what you quote above but I also had to cover evenings and weekends On Call to support live services So work always had to come first.

Generally did about 15 - 18 weekends a year + most drill nights + Camp or a Course


Go for it. TA has far more positives than negatives. And with the new MTP uniforms you'll look more like a soldier than I ever did :)
 
#7
Good to get an actual view on things! Okay, so between being attested how long was it for you before your first weekend of IIRC? From what youve said if you get your two week CIC dates at the same time that gives 4/5 months notice which wouldn't be too bad in terms of arranging time off work!Essentially it should be assumed that whilst training, upto and including CIC, that the commitment will be every other weekend and one evening a week? Once that's been completed, then it's 'officially' 27 days a year, but more likely 1/2 weekends a month, plus the evening in the week and a two week camp. Is that correct? I understand it will depend on unit etc etc.Once trained and CIC completed etc, what would be the position of the TA (more so the real position of those within the unit than the official party line) if you were unable to attend a weekends training with your unit due to work commitment / amount of notice given for the training weekend? (I.e. I can't do this weekend because I've got work and I haven't had enough notice to even try to re-arrange anything?) or is plenty of notice usually given in your opinion?
Again my memory isn't fantastic but I think it was just over a month after attestation before begining weekends. In my unit we usually have a training programme up thats at least a few months ahead so we can get time off, although if we can't make it then usually they're fine so long as its a genuine reason. As you'll probably find else where on this site your priorities are 1. Family 2. Work 3. TA
 
#8
From attestation to rsw when I did it took around 2 months. Then about another 2 months getting loaded onto weekend 2..... as long as you have a decent reason in not attending a weekend, your unit should be ok. And yes, its family, work, TA.
 
#9
From attestation to rsw when I did it took around 2 months. Then about another 2 months getting loaded onto weekend 2..... as long as you have a decent reason in not attending a weekend, your unit should be ok. And yes, its family, work, TA.

I take from that you mean to say that you won't get the dates all in one go?

For example once loaded onto my phase 1 training I won't receive a piece of paper that says:

weekend 1 - 01/03/12
weekend 2 - 15/03/12
weekend 3 - 29/03/12...(dates hypothetical)

etc etc?

Thanks again guys this is all great stuff, some real information so I can actually provide my boss with as much of a 'real' view of what to expect as possible.
 
#10
Well as previously mentioned each unit differs, as I received all mine at the same time. In all honesty the best move for you is to contact the unit you want to join and get the answers from the horses mouth, afterall it wouldn't look to good if you had to quote ARRSE to your boss rather than what the recruiting staff have told you.
 
#11
Yes, your right. Every 2 weeks there is a training weekend. Or if your company can manage without you for 2 weeks, you could get on the consolidated course (but these are only ran a few times per year).
 
#12
Well as previously mentioned each unit differs, as I received all mine at the same time. In all honesty the best move for you is to contact the unit you want to join and get the answers from the horses mouth, afterall it wouldn't look to good if you had to quote ARRSE to your boss rather than what the recruiting staff have told you.
Absolutely. I've already given him the official blurb however and he was interested on what the actuals were, so I'd imagine all the information you guys have kindly given plus the official blurb and anywhere in between would ensure I'm going into this eyes wide open. Sounds perfectly do able though and I'm leaning very much towards signing up :) just get the unit visit done and some more info gathered!

Thanks though you've all been a big help, I was in the ATC as a kid and loved all the 'green training' not that I'm saying it's the same thing but I'd love to get back into that way of life again!
 
#13
Re your civvie job- you must remember that it comes first. Make sure that when you start your training your boss understands that you will be doing ten weekends over twenty weeks or so. Also that your CIC needs to be fairly soon afterwards. If your unit can give you confirmation of dates I would take the opportunity to let the boss know, just out of courtesy- if he's on board keep him so.
 
#14
Personally people in the TA have a whole variety of jobs and umtimatly as long as you do the 27 days a year you'll be fine though if you choose to do more it is up to you as its a case of you get out what you put in and most people end up doing far more than 27 days a year.
 
#15
So what of these Battilon / Company lead weekends? Naturally to get full affect a high level of attendance is needed? What's the attendance like usually? Are they worthwhile?

Same for the two week camps also?
 
#16
I haven't been on any yet but from what i've heard of they are aboslutley amazing, while not everyone can always make it usually due to work/family they are the most popular activities of the year
 
#17
Phwew, when I saw the tread title I thought it was me that had been outed.
 
#18
Battalion camps are usually reputed to be some of the best activities of the year haven't been on one myself, but attendance is usually very good, and i'm told it is worth it people can usually make it, but cometimes can't due to work/family commitments alot of the time it is up to the individual how much attendance they have.
 
#19
Big NATO exercises like Lionheart 84 or Keystone in 87 were ******* brilliant. Hard andt iring but brilliant.

Annual Camp at Battalion level is pretty good too if the resources are around for live firing, helicopter work etc . Nothing beats a good Chinook ride to a Mortar & Artillery concentration.

You might sometimes have to choose between Camp and course that will help your career and satisfy Battalion needs for skills.
 

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