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HarrySmith95th

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The Permanent Staff of a TA Unit can (if they put their minds to it) make a HUGE difference to retention. Consider these absolute gems from HarrySmith95th as published in ARRSE:

I've spent a bit of time with a TA regiment and thought that I'd pass on my views borne of experience. The idea is that it took me some time to figure this stuff out, and it may help stop some people from rocking up and acting a complete tool.

1. Remember the blokes are volunteers. If they do not want to turn up, they won't. The usual reasons for this include pump / no training programme, rather than just a weekend of rain.

2. They are (usually) adults. If you treat them as incompetent tw@ts, they will rapidly lose interest and act as incompetent tw@ts. Treat them as grown-ups: they may well be better educated than you and some of them will hold very, very responsible jobs. The Jock you are looking at might earn more than your CO. The average age of the TA squaddie is older than that of the Regs, so they have seen a bit more of life and can spot a bullshitter very quickly.

3. You are there to advise. You have the Regular service, they are (generally) willing listeners ready and keen to learn. There is a fine line between advising and taking over - it's their train set: help out when you can but do not take over - the JNCOs / SNCOs will just resent it.

4. You will get the results you deserve. Generally, unless the TM / OC is a complete tool stomping on your creative training ideas.

5. Keep the chain of command informed. They have jobs outside of the TA - they need to plan ahead. Email / text can be very, very useful within security limitations.

6. Their civilian job comes first. That's the way it is. You will not change it: accept it.

7. They may not be as fit as a Regular unit. Exceptions of course, but on the whole they do not have time for programmed phys Monday to Friday - unlike you.

8. Maintain your standards. If you swan off & getting fat and lazy they will notice. Be an example in your appearance and conduct - you are their main point of contact with the Regular Army.

9. ENSURE their course bids get submitted - and they know what courses they can do. Vital.

10. If they have a Dining Out / Dinner Night and you are not invited, that's a Combat Indicator that they don't like you. And that is your fault.

11. They will have their own traditions - respect them. Do not try to impose *your* regimental traditions on them. If Seniors call each other by their first names, that's the way it is.

12. You will be there for two years And then you will be gone. Remember that, they will.

13. Remember the blokes are volunteers.

14. Enjoy it.