Applying to join, but: "Haven't heard anything...." ?


War Hero
Just wanted to highlight a fairly common area in which applicants, their parents or partners may come across, particularly those who have previously quit training and are intending to rejoin.

Firstly, if the applicant is over 18, his or her careers adviser has to observe data protection legislation and cannot divulge information to a third party. In fact, even those under age 18 must give written consent first. Yep, even for Mum or Dad.

It's appreciated that this can cause a great deal of frustration, particularly if the individual isn't, shall we say, talkative or is "useless on the phone".

On a virtually weekly basis, we have queries from Admirals, Generals and Captains "asking for a family friend" to see what the hold-up is. You can therefore rest assured the phenomina is therefore widely understood an appreciated but we cannot tell third parties about it.

Reason? Very often an individual doesn't particulary want Mum or Dad knowing about the fact they may have failed a selection element, changed their mind about joining or perhaps have a medical condition they do not wish to broadcast.

Please respect their privacy, no matter how well-intentioned the motive to try and move things forward on their behalf.

When people quit training there can be a host of reasons, not least pressures from partners ("I'm pregnant" or "If you don't leave, I'll leave you" being more common than many appreciate).

Those rejoining may well think they are a gift to the service due to their prior time in training or beyond. The same goes for their family and partners. What they may not realise is they may well have jumped before they were pushed.

The only thing we do know is they decided to quit once before and we therefore have to do a fair bit of research to find out what the reasons were at the time. The medical records have to be retrieved and checked, their reports are checked, the Branch Manager has to assess whether they are worth the risk again, etc., etc.

From an AFCO perspective, it is not uncommon for a Careers Adviser to be processing 100+ candidates simultaneously, so communications tend to be restricted to notifying candidates when the next selection element requires completing or when a course or selection date and entry date is allocated. In other words, in many cases the AFCO will contact the individual when they have something to tell them.

Be aware once selection is completed and an entry date requested, depending on branch, there can be a prolonged wait during which nothing is heard. We strongly, strongly advise candidates not to quit work or education whilst waiting to join and if they are doing neither, then they should be.

On the flip side, if the individual wants clarification of their status or progress then they should simply give their Careers Adviser a call or an email, or indeed pop into the AFCO to have a chat to bring yourself up to speed....but don't send someone else to ask on your behalf if it is you that wants the job. This isn't to say AFCOs don't make mistakes, they do. It is therefore in the individual's interest to periodically check with their AFCO to see if everything is progressing as it should and to update us of any change in circumstances.

I've lost count of the number of times someone calls in and we say "We've been trying to contact you" only to hear "Oh yeah, I got a new mobile number" or "I don't use that email account anymore".

Best of luck.

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