University of London OTC
The University of London Officer Training Corps (ULOTC) was founded in 1909. The Canterbury detachment was created in 2012, allowing those at universities a long distance from central London to be able to train nearer to their respective universities. It is the largest University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) in the UK with 350 Officer Cadets. University students and a mix of regular and reserve staff members make up the unit, which was traditionally described as a drinking society with an army problem. However in recent years, all OTCs now fall under the Sandhurst group, ensuring training and the ethos of the units are in line with the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The unit is part of the Army Reserve, but builds its training around university schedules in order to provide a flexible and fulfilling training regime for its Officer Cadets.
The ULOTC recruits once every year between August and early October from all universities in London and Canterbury, for their respective detachment. A broad spectrum of Officer Cadets join each year, some with childhood aspirations to join the Army and others having just heard about a society which pays you to be a member! Those successful in joining the OTC can look forward to a steady income, as they are paid (like all Reservists) for the time they spend doing their training. However it’s not a big earner; but for those at University, a little extra beer money can go a long way. Once in the ULOTC, the students obtain the rank of Officer Cadet (OCdt). They are Type B reservists, meaning they are not liable to be called up for service.
Training is split into three years to match a typical university course and each year Officer Cadets progress through the different Companies. A Company is the first year, and covers the rudiments of soldiering such as field-craft, weapons handling, drill, and how to “make the most of the Officers Mess”. The second year - B Company - trains Officer Cadets for the Officer part of their rank, including the basics of command and the orders process. At this point Officer Cadets’ Mess skills are further refined. C Company is the third and final year and puts into practice the skills learnt across both years by commanding A and B Companies in the field on exercise as well as on training nights.
Just like any other Army Reserve unit, those in ULOTC are expected to attend Training Nights every Tuesday night and approximately one weekend a month (7 weekends a year, craftily planned around the student calendar. We wouldn’t want students to have too much on over their holidays…). This all culminates in an Annual Training Package (ATP) for two weeks over the summer, obviously carefully planned to ensure minimal disruption to student’s studies/exams.