Welbeck to Close

A more fundamental question might be; can Welbeck lead to good technical officers? I have my doubts. The gap between initial selection at 15 to graduation is 6 years for most engineering graduates. Add another year at Sandhurst and six months YO training and it’s quite possible for there to be 8 years between first selection and gainful employment.

Back when RMCS existed, Welbeck and Shrivenham produced a steady stream of technical graduates with military focussed degrees. It did so at a time when around 10% of young people went to university. There just weren’t enough technical graduates coming from mainstream universities to fill the requirement.
Now half do and many are doing STEM subjects. There’s a much bigger pool and far fewer needed.

Surely the answer is to provide an attractive, competitive career and market it well to the graduating STEM population rather than try to select 15 years olds 8 years before they will be employed?
That's probably the cheapest way of doing it. Maybe Welbeck should pick up where Harrogate left off? A vast proportion of the LE OF3/4 had been through, and the pyramid below was full of them....if Sandhurst is aiming too high.
 
That's probably the cheapest way of doing it. Maybe Welbeck should pick up where Harrogate left off? A vast proportion of the LE OF3/4 had been through, and the pyramid below was full of them....if Sandhurst is aiming too high.
My thinking was much more about risk. Surely the high risk approach is to select at 15. Not only does it lock in people who may prove unsuitable over the next 7 years before they are actually gainfully employed, but it also close opportunities for the majority who didn’t consider the services at 15.
As for cost, surely the right way is the cheapest method that works?
 

QRK2

LE
A more fundamental question might be; can Welbeck lead to good technical officers? I have my doubts. The gap between initial selection at 15 to graduation is 6 years for most engineering graduates. Add another year at Sandhurst and six months YO training and it’s quite possible for there to be 8 years between first selection and gainful employment.

Back when RMCS existed, Welbeck and Shrivenham produced a steady stream of technical graduates with military focussed degrees. It did so at a time when around 10% of young people went to university. There just weren’t enough technical graduates coming from mainstream universities to fill the requirement.
Now half do and many are doing STEM subjects. There’s a much bigger pool and far fewer needed.

Surely the answer is to provide an attractive, competitive career and market it well to the graduating STEM population rather than try to select 15 years olds 8 years before they will be employed?
Absolutely, particularly wrt the gap between selection and commissioning and creating an environment where STEM graduates see it as an attractive career option

Albeit a sample of one (and I've mentioned it on here before) but I know an individual who gained an Army Scholarship at 16, went on to Bursary at Uni, achieved a first in his Mech Eng MEng whilst also doing reserve Cdo course and passing flying grading. But on graduating, looking at what the Army had to offer and, it has to be said his perception of the quality of the people it was attracting and admitting as officers, decided to pay back the scholarship/bursary money and joined a major defence contractor instead (and the AR Infantry).
 
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I know an individual who gained an Army Scholarship at 16, went on to Bursary at Uni, achieved a first in his Mech Eng MEng whilst also doing reserve Cdo course and passing flying grading. But on graduating, looking at what the Army had to offer and, it has to be said his perception of the quality of the people it was attracting and admitting as officers, decided to pay back the scholarship/bursary money and joined a major deference contractor instead.
Ahhhh... yeah... sorry about that. :oops:
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
A more fundamental question might be; can Welbeck lead to good technical officers? I have my doubts. The gap between initial selection at 15 to graduation is 6 years for most engineering graduates. Add another year at Sandhurst and six months YO training and it’s quite possible for there to be 8 years between first selection and gainful employment.

Back when RMCS existed, Welbeck and Shrivenham produced a steady stream of technical graduates with military focussed degrees. It did so at a time when around 10% of young people went to university. There just weren’t enough technical graduates coming from mainstream universities to fill the requirement.
Now half do and many are doing STEM subjects. There’s a much bigger pool and far fewer needed.

Surely the answer is to provide an attractive, competitive career and market it well to the graduating STEM population rather than try to select 15 years olds 8 years before they will be employed?
It doesn't matter. Welbeck is dead. Long live the new idea to recruit STEM until the next good idea, post SDSR to reinstate Welbeck as they cant recruit enough STEM grads.
 
It doesn't matter. Welbeck is dead. Long live the new idea to recruit STEM until the next good idea, post SDSR to reinstate Welbeck as they cant recruit enough STEM grads.
Has the Welbeck system ever produced quality STEM graduates? Since the demise of RMCS, the system hasn’t produced STEM graduates at all. It’s just fed sponsored students into universities, something that most schools can do.

The way to recruit STEM graduates is to offer them an attractive, meaningful, competitive career and to market it well to those approaching graduation. The problem for the forces is that many jobs for STEM graduates are in managing maintenance. Many STEM graduates want to work in creative side of STRM. They don’t put themselves through 6 years of rigorous study to manage the maintenance of 20 year old trucks.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Meanwhile...


I can’t see attempts to recruit STEM graduates elsewhere gaining real momentum (sic) when you’ve got this sort of rubbish prevailing on campuses.

Personally, I’m more triggered by the rise in violent street crime - and the associated ‘don’t blame the poor cherubs’ culture - than I am by the existence of the military, an organisation that exists to keep the country safe.

The problem is that such as Ms Swain will squeal very loudly at any attempts to help her see the world as it really is.

Sorry - not hijacking the thread. I’m just demonstrating the over-hopeful thinking used to justify what’s been done to Welbeck.
 
Meanwhile...


I can’t see attempts to recruit STEM graduates elsewhere gaining real momentum (sic) when you’ve got this sort of rubbish prevailing on campuses.

Personally, I’m more triggered by the rise in violent street crime - and the associated ‘don’t blame the poor cherubs’ culture - than I am by the existence of the military, an organisation that exists to keep the country safe.

The problem is that such as Ms Swain will squeal very loudly at any attempts to help her see the world as it really is.

Sorry - not hijacking the thread. I’m just demonstrating the over-hopeful thinking used to justify what’s been done to Welbeck.
Nothing new. In my time at university nearly 40 years ago, the OTC and UAS weren’t allowed at Freshers Fairs. My college also no-platformed; Enoch Powell got pelted with flour and eggs and was unable to speak.

Freshers Fairs aren’t recruiting events for anything other than university societies. They aren’t careers fairs.

Are weapons really appropriate at a Freshers event?
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Nothing new. In my time at university nearly 40 years ago, the OTC and UAS weren’t allowed at Freshers Fairs. My college also no-platformed; Enoch Powell got pelted with flour and eggs and was unable to speak.

Freshers Fairs aren’t recruiting events for anything other than university societies. They aren’t careers fairs.

Are weapons really appropriate at a Freshers event?
Fair.
 

BTDT

Old-Salt
I graduated from Welbeck in 1960. Most of my Entry went on to serve a full career in the Army. 60 years on we still hold a well attended annual reunion lunch (often at a military establishment). If nothing else this suggests that Welbeck generated in its students a certain esprit de corps (or, perhaps, a lack of imagination).

I do not think that the Welbeck system was ideal, but it worked. I suspect that the main reason for its closure is purely a matter of numbers: a smaller army needs to recruit fewer officers. Making Welbeck tri-service helped justify it into the 21st Century: perhaps it should have concentrated more on producing technical officers for the Civil Service which seems to be overstaffed with Arts graduates.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Nothing new. In my time at university nearly 40 years ago, the OTC and UAS weren’t allowed at Freshers Fairs. My college also no-platformed; Enoch Powell got pelted with flour and eggs and was unable to speak.

Freshers Fairs aren’t recruiting events for anything other than university societies. They aren’t careers fairs.
Cambridge and ULU went through this already about ten years ago. The military stands just moved outside during Freshers fair.

There's always going to be some vocal minority yelling about the armed forces; they aren't the reason that we're unattractive to STEM graduates.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
A question which occurs to me is: "What's the Army's actual appetite - as opposed to need - for highly-qualified technical officers and what sort of offer is in place to attract and retain them?".

It seems to me, as a retired full-career Regular SNCO with, now, 20 years in high-tech industry behind me, mainly in the defence, security and intelligence realms, that serious techie types who go through Sandhurst very quickly realise that the career options available to them in the Army are limited, as they're not on the G3 snob route and hence have little or no chance of promotion past Lieutenant Colonel - and that the roles they'll be filling on the way up are not necessarily too fulfilling for someone technically-inclined.

The RAF and the Navy do better with their engineering and technical officers, which isn't that surprising, as they're in the business of operating dauntingly complex platforms and it's financially and operationally worthwhile to train their technical guys thoroughly and give them technical, meaningful jobs.

The Army, by contrast, while it does operate sophisticated platforms, is generally a mandraulic enterprise and, actually, finds most of its routine technical capability from the non-commissioned and LE communities. That actually works rather well.

Where the gap exists is in the fields of procurement, major programme management and delivery and - to a much lesser extent - original research and development (the sort of thing @Gravelbelly knows far more than I).

I'd contend that the knowledge, experience and skills required of a procurement desk officer or programme director, a programme manager or director or an operational requirement drafter are not necessarily technical - a STEM degree might be helpful, but, for contrast, one of the best major infrastructure programme directors I've ever worked with (on a contract worth several billion dollars) had a decent First in Classics.

The Army, as the bearer ecology for the Holy Officers' Career Structure, is its own worst enemy. The way it's structured the game ensures that the game will be played in a way which rationally matches the structure. As long as people have a direct disincentive from spending too long in one job or becoming subject matter experts, we will have an Army which maintains the gifted amateur ethos in its senior posts.
 
This is your semi-routine reminder that Defence =/= Army.

That is all.
 
Nothing new. In my time at university nearly 40 years ago, the OTC and UAS weren’t allowed at Freshers Fairs. My college also no-platformed; Enoch Powell got pelted with flour and eggs and was unable to speak.
:cool: I take it you went to some dodgy undisciplined redbrick or former polytechnic :cool:

As a young student, I did my share of manning the UOTC recruiting stand at all of the local universities and colleges during the mid-1980s. Absolutely no problems at any of them, and full access to all IIRC; the nearest to "hassle" was one year when Edinburgh decided to put the UOTC in the same room as the Troops Out Movement table [1], separated only by the Sri Chinmoy Peace Movement table. No riot, and presumably a huge disappointment for the Student Union worthy who thought it would be hilarious.

The UAS had a huge advantage (the b**tards) in that their training centre was a recently-refurbished and downright luxurious listed building on Regent Terrace. Don't care how often they go up-tiddly-up, they're still...

[1] Staffed by a total one disinterested lad and a pile of leaflets that nobody appeared to bother with, and he was so scrawny that he made me look muscular. He was disappointed, because we had the usual non-stop stream of people coming across to talk to us. I was quite disappointed, I'd been expecting Citizen Smith, and hoping for some really idealistic and good-looking activists to dazzle with my winning (lack of) charm, and faint scent of Eau de Geek...
 
This is your semi-routine reminder that Defence =/= Army.

That is all.
Which begs the question; are careers for STEM graduates in the Navy so unappealing that you can’t attract graduates? Do you really need to recruit impressionable and undeveloped 15 year olds and groom them for a job they won’t start for at least 6 years?
 
Which begs the question; are careers for STEM graduates in the Navy so unappealing that you can’t attract graduates? Do you really need to recruit impressionable and undeveloped 15 year olds and groom them for a job they won’t start for at least 6 years?
it worked for me...

Although I'd note I wasn't at Welbeck, and the numbers of Welbexians in the RN must be vanishingly small.

We're struggling for Weapon Engineer officers - mainly because the source degrees for the branch (typically electronics, computer science and physics) are hugely sought after across the UK. Indeed, I was headhunted in Uni to become a Quant (which I obviously turned down), but that's the market forces we're fighting against.

Where we're different to the Army is that we have a fair steady and sustained pull through of Ratings into the Officer cadre, who are then employed exactly the same as "DEs". Our Engineers are engaged in Engineering (if they want) throughout their career, and have easy potential to 2* and beyond. There is a defined route to CEng with mainstream Engineering institutions and (IIRC) required for promotion to SO1 for all types of Engineer.

Is our STEM recruitment perfect - no. Is it good enough - sort of. Do Naval Engineers do Engineering - yes.
 
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