One entry qualification should fit all !!!

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by FAAFLYNAVY, Oct 24, 2013.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. In these days of high youth/graduate unemployment & because the RN has always prided itself on being a meritocracy is it not the time to have one entry standard for all & do away with officer entrants? This system seems to work perfectly well within the police & fire services, everybody starts at the bottom & then based on their ability climbs the greasy pole of promotion in each specialization & I can't see why this couldn't work within the RN. The fitness/health/psychosomatic entrance tests should be set at a very high requirement & promotion through the ranks should be based purely on ability without limits. Just a personal thought.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  2. When we had WRNS instead of lady sailors this was the system that was operated.
    However it was not exactly cut and dried as many young ladies entered knowing that they were guaranteed to become WREN Occifers once they had completed their mandatory lower deck period.
    I for one liked that system, it gave potential officers the experience of living life on the lower deck, albeit for an extremely short time
  3. I believe the only part of the UK military where this is currently the case is the Royal Marines band.
  4. Mods, please feel free to move this to where you think it fits best.
  5. There are two Army regiments that I know of where it's also like this.

    One is the SAS, the other is my old mob.

    It works very well, promotion to officer is base purely on merit and not on whether you went to Eton or Harrow. There almost seems to be a reversal of stereotypes, the HAC officers tend to be more from the lower middle classes or even working class, while it's the troopers who dick around in red trousers and play polo.
  6. Im not saying your wrong, but does this not exclude officers joining the SAS? Or does a captain suddenly become a trooper?
  7. I think he might mean SAS(R).
  8. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    The concept is fine, in practicality terms its difficult to implement.

    How do you grow your 1SL or your specialist OF5 and 6s, when you need to be able to spot them at an early age to give them time to develop?

    If you have one common entry and we all go some Initial Naval Training then stream to afterwards at what points do you select people? I have worked with, trained and know people who did 2-3 weeks at Raleigh and then were lifted immediately to BRNC.

    Some people will naturally want to go and do a degree early, other people may not want to do one at all and some may mature later - the degree could be very relevant to how they would be streamed - hard to grow ICS specialists or engineers internally in sufficient numbers when selecting from the ranks.

    What is manifestly wrong with the system today that it needs to be changed?
  9. OP mentioned the police do it in the way suggested. I think at the moment they are looking at letting people join part way up the rank structure then move on to bring more breadth of experience in the upper levels.

    Posted from the Navy Net mobile app (Android / iOS)
  10. I have to ask what relevance a degree has for an Engineer, seems to me there are quite a few SD's without degrees who make it quite a way up the ladder, or is that no longer the case?
    As to your last sentence, to quote an old joke, I assume you are "one of the monkeys higher up the tree looking down?"
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  11. Some of the best engineers I've worked with (suffered!) have been SD's who didn't have a degree, some of the worst have been SD's with degree's.

    I sometimes think people confuse intelligence with educational qualifications.
    • Like Like x 5
  12. The fire service are trying to break away from a one level entry; officers who only understand how to pump water is not a good way to manage the complexities of local government services and employees.

  13. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    All depends on what you want that SD to be able to do. Where I work currently a good technical knowledge and a good theoretical knowledge is needed. Its not the 'degree' per-se its what was taught and the wider subject, all of my floor plate have two degrees.

    Without wishing to sound pointed, and I'm genuinely not, your question could be looked at from a purely single service, in-branch perspective whilst I am thinking wider - acquisition jobs, outer offices, policy & strategy roles, Science & Technology roles - we employ people, particularly Officers, in roles far broader than their core branch/role. The degree, the education, the ability to learn and the techniques all help.

    As for your latter point, where I sit is immaterial, I sit with plenty of monkeys above me.

    The point still remains, what is wrong with the current system that requires it to be changed (at what would be an incredibly significant cost)? No one has still presented that argument. Note I'm not saying the question is wrong, it just hasn't been supported in any meaningful way.
  14. Used to be ^^;

    Attached Files:

  15. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    This is the absolute crux of the issue.

    The Recruiting Test, for the uninitiated, whilst not an intelligence test, has remained broadly unchanged since 1943, unlike every other educational qualification in the last 70 years.

    When the service looks to calculate "compensation" for a person who was discharged prematurely, the recruiting test score is used as the primary indicator to ascertain what theoretical career progression the individual would have attained had they served a full term.

    Given that a shocking number of individuals cannot even pass the recruiting test for Rating, let alone Officer, including those "educationally qualified" for Officer, I'd agree with the OP that it's perhaps time we looked at doing our business differently.

    It is only in recent years that Officer candidates sit the Recruiting Test & frankly, it's been an "eye-opener" for AIB to the extent that they have had to significantly reduce the pass marks to enable sufficient numbers of applicants to get as far as AIB.

    Given they many people are still mentally immature between the ages of 16-18 and make a complete hash of their GCSEs & A Levels, it is actually bizarre that a person's entire potential future career is determined by their academic results during these 2-3 years.

    There has to be a measure, but are we using the right measure?
    • Like Like x 1
  16. True, I agree with all of that, but wonder if it's a systems problem or a measurement problem, or a problem. And to be fair, I'm outside now so don't really have a dog in this fight,, but for perspective:
    I've done AIB and was an officer
    I was at Dartmouth with SUYs and UYs who ranged in previous experience from 18 years to 3 weeks at Raleigh
    I served in a T42 where 80% of the wardroom were UY/SUY (XO, MEO, DMEO, WEO, DWEO, WESO, AAWO, Ops, Pilot, LO, 2 x YOs and 1 of the OsOW off the top of my head)
    I did 8 months working at Raleigh in Fisgard.

    Frankly, it doesn't surprise me that prior to the RTs, idiots were getting through to AIB, and even through AIB - BRNC weeded them out more often that not at that stage though (albeit at a cost).

    UY/SUY work very well and bring a different perspective to their work, but there is quite a limited silo for the SUY to fit into - basically their own deep specialist and typically SO2/3 (ANY) billets. UY are more widely employable, especially the ones that the mob then put through a degree - so to that extent you could say that the hook is already working at pulling through the talent from the lower deck (although I totally accept that this might not be fast enough, and sympathise massively with those JR/SRs in dead man's shoes branches who have been waiting to be called forward to AIB for years after having their papers raised - I've got a couple in mind as I type). The RN is streets ahead of the Army and RAF though in identifying these people, pulling them through in volume, and making more use of them than just jobbing them for quartermaster (army meaning).

    I'm minded to go along with the view that the system as-is is not fundamentally broken for a couple of reasons:
    1- the argument that people need to do a certain amount of jobs to get to a certain job (which time waiting in-service for their potential to be identified doesn't help with)
    2- the fact that we are pulling through more from the lower deck than either ever before and the other two services already; and yes, we can probably do more without disrupting point 1
    3- this seems to be quite one way - we introduce a common start point and pull people out of it when they show aptitude. What happens if they then screw up? Return to source branch or outside? Seems very much like "we're wasting good people on the lower deck who should be officers, but if we've got officers who would make better ratings, that would never work..."

    The other point is related to point 1 above. I totally agree that not everyone has their sh*t in one sock at the age of 18-21. People do develop later and there's nothing to stop the 26 year old wastrel being a business tycoon by the age of 40. It's a race, not a sprint, and all that. But I would argue that a lot of forces life is a young man's game, and, regardless of the other opportunities to grow and develop in life, the RN does need to get the 18-21 year olds that *have* got it sorted through the gates of BRNC. To that extent, A Levels/degree are as good a yardstick as any (and have the benefit of being one that the mob doesn't have to pay for!) The other guys may well become awesome by the age of 30, but in broad terms, that's too late for the general run of the mill officer (whilst being fine for SUY/UY candidates - for which that option already exists).

    BTW, throughout the long and rambling post above I've used the phrase "Lower Deck" not as a pejorative, but because it's two word short hand and we all know what I mean.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Completely agree with Ninja's post above.

    You could quite easily bin off the educational requirements and send people to AIB, based purely on their performance at the psychometric test and interview.

    Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, look at my current situation as an example:

    I wish to become an officer in the RNR, I can't do this because despite having many higher qualifications, none are on the UCAS tarrif. In place of paper quals, I bring one if the highest RT and interview scores my AFCO has ever seen, 6 years good service and experience in the RN, 5 years in the TA and 7 years of real world senior management experience from running a factory with over 60 employees and two of my own private businesses. Even the unit I plan to join want me as an officer.

    Given the opportunity to hit AIB, I'd give it a good crack and I'm confident I could pass. However this will never happen. (Not for a good few years until I can get my papers raised anyway).

    Now lets look at another candidate I know who is currently in the joining process to become an officer.

    By her own admission, she 'scraped through' the RT and interview, finding both 'challenging.' She is the same age as me and thus far her life's achievements have amounted to working as a waitress. While she passed the PJFT, I have subsequently witnessed her spectacularly fail 2 subsequent bleep tests which were conducted at the unit. I've also witnessed her destroy a very basic PLT she was leading.

    Despite this, she will go to AIB, it's likely she'll fail, however that's not the point. By virtue of the fact she stayed at school after her GCSEs, where as I joined the RN after mine, she will be given the chance to become an officer. And it's not even because I was a mongy teenager, I've got better GCSEs than her, I just wanted to join the RN and not stay at school.

    Everyone can see and readily admits, that I would make the better officer by far and be much more likely to pass the AIB (i.e. less of a financial risk to put through the recruiting system), however due to an archaic rule that is set in stone and even very senior officers seem unable to change, the RNR loses out on a highly capable officer candidate and I lose out on doing the job I want to do.

    FFS, I've even got a pair of chinos and some deck shoes and everything, I'd be a mega officer.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    If it were a democracy, you have my vote.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Don't quote me on this, but I think that this is actually the case except in very rare circumstances.

    It certainly is at the HAC. I know of a variety of former officers from lesser regiments who joined as troopers. For a short while they did let a few slip through the net and join directly as officers due to a massive shortage of JOs, however by and large this proved to be a massive failure and most were gash and RTUd.

    Given that there are a large proportion of Oxbridge graduates and very academic people in the ranks of the HAC who are more than capable of passing AOSB, bringing in 25 year old lads as officers by virtue of the fact that they'd served for 3 years as a 2Lt in the Toxteth light dragoons, was only a recipe for disaster.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  20. My bold, it has never been the case in the Royal Navy that who you know got you through, Fleet Board and its predecessors saw to that. In fact in my entry at Dartmouth the overwhelming majority were from State Schools and I don't really recall anyone having a silver spoon stuck in their mouth. And whilst the 8 weeks spent living as a JR that the current crop of those going through Dartmouth complete isn't perfect, it is far better than anything the Army or RAF offer their Officers (and indeed offer their Junior Ranks in moulding their future Officer''s views on life from the other side).

    I think it is a source of pride for the RN that we have proportionally more Officers who began their careers as Ratings than either the Army or the RAF. However, a case in point is the Army organisation I am currently working alongside, all of their Officers come from the RSM post (the natural progression is to then commission) the problem with this is you have grown your individuals to think as an RSM, great, but as they all have very similar backgrounds this can lead them to suffer from 'Groupthink'. The great strength of the RN's system is that as we have such a diverse range of backgrounds amongst our junior officers that this is less likely.

    It takes over 2 years to grow someone into a first job OOW, possibly around 10 years to PWO level (allowing for 18months-2yr posts of FCA, OOW1, Navs, Broadening & Pre-PWO), if all of our Warfare Officers can only come through having gone through every stage in the Warfare world how will we gain our senior Warfare Officers and pull through to Senior Command positions? I accept that the current system is not perfect, and that some Junior Officers will make mistakes whilst they are still maturing, that is part of their CoC's Subordinate Development piece. I think I've changed dramatically since I joined, and still have a long way to go.

    So whilst I think the SUY/UY paths are great and add diversity to our Officer Corps, the current system still enables us to get school leavers who have the ability to make excellent Naval Officers into the Service as Officers as soon as possible.

Share This Page