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Gib. Chronicle: "University Naval Units Visit The Rock"

That's 30 potential high-flyers who have had the experience of their lives and will extol the virtues of the RN in whatever influential positions they eventually hold. Some of them might even join the RN but, as the presiding Admiral said to the other members of the AIB in John Winton's 'We Joined the Navy':

"None of these boys will be very intelligent. If they had any intelligence they wouldn't be here. They'd be applying for jobs outside which carry more pay and less work, like most of their contemporaries. But lack of intelligence need not concern us. An intelligent man never makes a good naval officer. He embarrasses everybody."

We are forever complaining about the lack of understanding among civilians regarding the role of the Armed Forces, especially politicians and other decision-makers. This sort of thing helps redress the balance.
 

labrum

War Hero
I've heard the arguement so many times; what I'd love to see are the statistics that support the assertion for even anecdotal evidence of where the investment has paid off.

The students I have met from the URNU are no more able or less able than the average student at their universities so the chances of their being people of influence are somewhat remote - if it were my money (and a couple of pence of it is) I wouldn't be spending it.
 
I expect all URNUs have their fair share of high-flyers but remember this is Oxford and Cambridge we're talking about. Judging from the number of Oxbridge graduates who traditionally fill cabinet posts or become captains of industry, senior academics, scientists or economists, etc., I imagine that quite a few of them were "...no more able or less able than the average student at their universities". I am always surprised by the number of life's achievers, decision makers and opinion formers on 'Desert Island Discs' who confess to having been mediocre students at university.

I wonder whether the RN has conducted any research to find out where ex-URNU members have ended up. I'm sure it would make interesting reading.
 

labrum

War Hero
Naval_Gazer said:
I expect all URNUs have their fair share of high-flyers but remember this is Oxford and Cambridge we're talking about. Judging from the number of Oxbridge graduates who traditionally fill cabinet posts or become captains of industry, senior academics, scientists or economists, etc., I imagine that quite a few of them were "...no more able or less able than the average student at their universities". I am always surprised by the number of life's achievers, decision makers and opinion formers on 'Desert Island Discs' who confess to having been mediocre students at university.

I wonder whether the RN has conducted any research to find out where ex-URNU members have ended up. I'm sure it would make interesting reading.

Very valid points NG (though I've got to say that many of the lads from my school gained EE offers for Oxbridge on the back of their rowing CVs). My bold above is exactly what I'd like to see. I suspect many of the strongest advocates are those who have served on the URNU staff who with a bit of luck get a comfortable 2 years near home (not that I begrudge tehm this... ).

On a slight tangent, I've only ever seen one name board in an URNU and it struck me that the complement was more generous than an RMR unit with twice the numbers.
 
Complement, as in Ship's Company? That'll be a CPO in the Office, and two CPO, a Killick and an AB on the Ship, really not very many at all; anyway, a RMR Unit doesn't go to sea, it solely provides IAs, I struggle to see why they need a Lt Col in charge.....
 

Spidiver

War Hero
I had the mis-fortune to coxn an URNu for 4 months, it was the most scandalous waste of money I ever saw in my 27 years in the mob, it didn't help having the biggest throbbing quarter witted oxygen wasting OC that ever fukcing lived either...but that's another story.

URNU's merely help finance some students through university.
 

labrum

War Hero
alfred_the_great said:
Complement, as in Ship's Company? That'll be a CPO in the Office, and two CPO, a Killick and an AB on the Ship, really not very many at all; anyway, a RMR Unit doesn't go to sea, it solely provides IAs, I struggle to see why they need a Lt Col in charge.....

Call them what you want the board I looked at had a lot more than 5 smiling heads on it (double figures if my memeory doesn't fail me..).

The arguement ref the need for a Lt Col centres around the unit extending the Corps's national footprint as such complete a range of tasks which would otherwise fall to regular units.

My view after 18yrs in the RMR - Most COs earn their keep and the RMR does what is asked of it. Much of that success is down to having somebody batting at the right level, i.e. above SO2 to prevent somebody trying to build a reputation trying to fix that which is not broken.
 
Where was the board? It literally cannot be more than the personnel listed above.

1 CO
1 CPO as unit Cox'n

On the ship:
1 CPO as XO
1 CPO as MEO
1 LET/MEM(L/M) as WEO
1 AB as NavsYeo

+ potentially 1 civvie as part time office manager

that's your lot.

Any other regulars can only be temporary holdovers.

The only additions are the RNR TOs who teach navigation and the like.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Book Reviewer
I would be interested to learn of the percentage of URNU graduates who eventually join the RN - any statistics?

From the source in the OP:

Fourteen of the UK’s leading universities are supported by URNUs, whose role is to ‘educate a wide spectrum of high calibre undergraduates who show potential as society’s future leaders and opinion formers in order to better inform them of the need for and role of the Royal Navy.’

‘At Oxford and Cambridge, the URNUs are both over-subscribed,’ said Lt Conor O’Neill, Tracker’s Captain. ‘The students see the value of having membership of the URNU on their CVs and, as well as being good personal development, it’s good fun.’

So nowhere does it say that URNU is a means of preparing graduates for a career in the RN? It appears to be a corporate/marketing tool, no different to companies giving prospective contractors and employees expensive tickets to a sporting event - with no guarantee of a positive return.

But, hey - at least they had "fun"... :roll:
 
sgtpepperband said:
<snip>

So nowhere does it say that URNU is a means of preparing graduates for a career in the RN? It appears to be a corporate/marketing tool, no different to companies giving prospective contractors and employees expensive tickets to a sporting event - with no guarantee of a positive return.

But, hey - at least they had "fun"... :roll:

No different? To be fair, I don't think that attending the odd sporting event provides much insight into "the need for and role of" the hosting organisation. At least the URNUs expose their members to an extended period in a naval environment and some sea time. Perhaps a few weeks in the board room and on the shop floor might be a more appropriate comparison.

I'm ambivalent about the value of the URNUs but let's compare apples with apples, not apples with pears.
 

Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
While I am fairly ambivalent about URNU, its all up budget is only about 1.5m per year, and for this it generates 14 hulls, gives good experience to lots of students and gives the RN a lot of publicity in tiny ports which would never otherwise see an RN visit.

Personally, I think its easier to make savings elsehwere, even if the URNU doesn't know how many people are now 'captains of industry'...
 

Quickstick4

Newbie
As a nearly ex-URNU member (officially leaving in three weeks) I have to agree with the point that most students are mediocre. I have seen so many people at my unit leave with a Third-class degree, or worse a designated degree. However lets not sideline the few that get 1st class degrees (which there are a few) or the 2nd class degrees (Me! :D )

As Purple_twiglet pointed out; it only costs £1.5Million a year to run 14 "ships". The Money problem is going to come when the Ships need replaced (the older ships do, but are being delayed, as is the RN way).

The URNUs have really ramped up trying to get in contact and keeping track of ex-unit members. I spoke to the old unit secretary while she was compiling a list of how many people went on to join the RN full time. Back in the 60's it was around 8 a year(unit size 25), now its more around 4 a year(unit size 45) 8O . This is in an effort to justify their position.

The URNU does not prepare you for life in the RN (so my old C.O. said - An ex-URNU student himself). He said you have a head start in Basic training (know to shave every morning, know how to look after kit etc, used to getting up at the crack of dawn for tides, etc).

However look at what the RN takes away from it: Its 14 command posts for Lt/Lt Cdr and 42 Positions for CPOs to take were they have allot of responsibility. Many old C.O.s of the units go on to become Captains, HMS Illustrious's last CO was an ex URNU C.O. of my unit! Also it allows the RN to visit many ports that dont normally have the RN visiting. Although the amount of times we're mistaken for fishery protection is ridiculous. The ship was attacked once by fisherman in Fraserburgh, and some drunk fisherman in Grimbsy started letting go of our lines in the middle of the night!

My personal experience of the URNU has been mixed. It put me off joining the RN at one point, but then I came around and am going to BRNC in September. Because of the URNU I know in allot more detail what Im getting my self into as well - I didn't just read the leaflets, I had AB's and CPO's saying that the life is shit and don't join etc, but I got just as many RN people say they love it.

I would say they are worth keeping, but I think they need to prove themselves more than they do currently as to value for money/amount of future-leaders actually come out of the units. Mabey they should consider going to the OTC route and be an active recruiter instead of the passive recruiting.



I know my Units ship has/(had?) a reputation for being the strictest in the squadron but:
Not related to the post just wanted to share: Tracker and Raider aren't very popular in the squadron. The students are very rude, never even tried to do Colours correctly, there seamanship was bat shit mental, and when coming along side, when they couldn't get the fore-spring across - they just laughed and spend 5 minutes fishing it out of the water giggling, all their chart work was incorrect and my watch had to spend an entire night correcting their way-points and passing them onto the other ships in company (Raider Student: "I don't care im going to bed"), hosted a cocktail party then demanded payment of £5 each (we host cocktail parties and costs £2 a head payed only by us)

I apologise for the rant, but I have been in company with nearly every ship in the URNU squadron(been in 5 years) and those two where the worst ships I have had the unfortunate task of dealing with :evil: :evil:
 

IB08

Lantern Swinger
I do find it quite amusing that it is the Oxbridge squadrons who are the least popular! Their perceived lack of discipline may be due to the fact that a lot of their students have heavy enough workloads from their university degrees, so I guess they are not really fans of chart work. Oxford URNU do run awesome expeditions abroad though, or so I hear...
 
Quickstick4 said:
Not related to the post just wanted to share: Tracker and Raider aren't very popular in the squadron.

Bizarre ranting aside, that's alright, Raider's off to Bristol URNU (running out of Dartmouth) anyway, Cambridge are getting Trumpeter,
 
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