Recruitment - How are units coping?

Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by trehorn, Jun 3, 2013.

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  1. Morning All,

    Could have put this in the recruitment section but thought this thread was more appropriate; I just wondered how other units are getting on with achieving the recruitment targets set for the RNR.

    Are people seeing an influx in new blood (fnar, fnar) coming through the door?

    Has there been a dramatic increase in the number of orange/green/red (tick the appropriate colour!) tabs in and around the unit?

    Have units taken on board the holding class concept (candidates attending the unit while still in the recruitment process - no pay, no expense, no uniform)?

    How are the units infrastructures holding up?
    (Sufficient classrooms, IT, drill deck/locker room/bar big enough?)
  2. TH,
    the bow wave of new recruits is yet to hit us, but we have had a bit of an increase. It's going to take a bit of time to arrest he decline of the last 20 years and change the culture, but it will happen eventually (I hope)
  3. I'm currently attending a holding class at my chosen unit while I plod very very slowly through the recruitment process.

    It's pretty basic stuff, but it's a good way of getting to know people and use the gym. For those with no previous military experience, it's keeping their interest up.

    As far as recruitment (and retention) goes, it looks to me like a lot more needs to be done. The past few times I've been to the unit, there have been no more than 20 or 30 odd bods in attendance, that's everyone; holding class, new entry, trained JRs, SRs, Officers and PSIs.

    The place feels deserted, we haven't been in the mess yet, but given how few bods are kicking about, I'm sure it's far from banging.
  4. Thanks for the feedback guys.

    We only have around 50 bodies in our unit but our average attendance is around 30+. Most stay behind after for a drink and a chat. So much so that we've started doing scran after completion of training which has proved popular.

    Our recruiting is really taking off. We're on our second tranche of holding class and they are all integrating really well into the unit both in training and the social side. Many of those who started have now progressed through the AFCO process and are in uniform. We have a few that are TMU - Don't get me started on that debacle :banghead: all I'll say is that if it hadn't been for the atmosphere in the unit we would have lost half our guys through frustration.

    Being a small unit we do sometimes have difficulty finding instructors of sufficient experience to take them and finding spare classrooms can sometimes be challenging but overall the forecast is good. This could be eased if some ex-RN deemed unfit for further service were allowed to join on a reduced medical criteria. Instead I've seen people booted out as medically unfit instead of being allowed to pass their experience on to the younger end. I haven't done any branch training in unit in months because we're always looking after the newbies.
  5. jockpopeye

    jockpopeye Badgeman Book Reviewer

    We seem to be doing alright for numbers but no huge increase as yet. My impression, and I confirmed this with the instructors is that the standard of recruits is much better than it used to be.

    Problem is that JRs keep going in full time or do a deployment and drift off, meaning we have loads of officers, a decent number of SRs (who are mostly quite old) and a relatively low number of JRs. I suspect that the low numbers of JRs will likely cause an issue with SR numbers in a few years time, when a huge number of the existing SRs retire.

    It all really depends on how many of the new JRs we can retain in the longer term.
  6. My first post on here, I'm one of the newbies. Attestation next week and after that I can start. Taken me a year near enough to get through the process though.

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  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Ouch a year to join the RNR?

    Generally, the AFCO side shouldn't really take more than a couple of months if everything runs as it should - how come it took 12 months?
  8. 12 months is not uncommon in my experience NS. I wouldn't say it's the norm and things seem to have speeded up a little recently but there are plenty of people i know who took 12 months to get in or there abouts.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  9. By a year I mean from the initial presentation at the unit. Part of the problem was undoubtedly the time it took the nhs to send over medical records.

    Posted from the Navy Net mobile app (Android / iOS)
  10. My understanding is that there are about 7 separate steps to get recruited, if you are in work, and can only spare one afternoon a month, then we are looking at 7 months, even before you get messed about!
    We are desperately working towards the "happy bus" concept, where on a Saturday, we can buss a load of potential recruits to their medical, then fitness test, then eye test etc, but it is bloody hard work when we do not own the process!
    Has anyone been successful with the happy bus concept?
  11. The problem is that everyone seems to agree that the way forward is the one stop shop policy of turn up, complete RT, Interview, Medical and fitness test all in the same day. Unfortunately the adults don't seem to want this to happen. Pretty much all of the process is undertaken during the working day which is obviously a massive inconvenience to most of the applicants.
  12. TH, apparently I'm a grown up, and I want it! It's more to do with changing a culture of an organisation that is not owned by CMR! I do know that the grand fromage's staff officers want it, and are working towards it, but it will be a slow process
  13. IMHO it's a disaster.

    We are loosing INT's hand over fist, as a result of lack of impetus.
    Recruits get fed up with the nit-picking bureauocracy, INTS get board with the "holding pattern"; NE SR's can't move the process along, so we loose all the ones we get through the door.

    Meanwhile the SR's that we need to create an intresting and dynamic atmosphere are culled, almost at the whim of NPT Res and the branches, with no refrence to the needs at unit level.

    Until, and unless, CMR himself starts to bang heads against the wall we will never achevie the figures that the Future Reserves plan requires.

    The solution is not for the units to "happy bus" but for the opposite to happen - CMR send all the staff to a unit each weekend in rotation - they do all the medicals/paperwork/whatever with the candidate in front of them; arrive Saturday morning with your certificates; leave Sunday lunchtime with everything in place bar the security stuff, which can take a while, we all undersatnd that. Next week - start teaching them the INT taskbook - after all clove hitches and marching is not classified infomation - the sea cadets manage that.

    As for you last question - we have plenty of space for teaching a drinking - there's nobody else using it!!
  14. BH, ta.
    the happy bus, is similar to what you are suggesting, whereby potential recruits front up on the sat morning and are bussed to the GP that does their medical, meanwhile, some are doing their RT test in unit, then they are bussed to the GP, and those at the GP, bussed to an LA Fitness gym to do their fitness test etc.
    Agree that the length of time is too long and we need to take active measures to cut it!
  15. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    A common misconception, about 50% of regular service applicants are also in full time employment also and although the Reserves like to think it's somehow more difficult to complete selection, units and AFCOs work closely to try and minimise the number of AFCO visits and condense selection, some do it better than others.

    The selection stages are as follows (AFCO visits in bold).

    1. Attend presentation in RNR unit or AFCO (RNR Units do them in the evening). Collect & return completed application forms by post.

    2.Sit Recruiting Test (usually within a couple of weeks after submitting the paperwork) - In my region the RNR unit has trained staff to conduct the recruiting test in the unit during a drill night or during the weekend. If you contact your AFCO in advance, it's sometimes possible to undergo the selection interview the same day as the test if you are stretched for time-off. The test, if taken during the day is normally completed and marked within 2 hours, the selection interview takes about an hour. In total your time in an AFCO can be as little as a single hour for selection interview during your working week, if you take the recruiting test in unit.

    3. The eyetest can be undertaken at Boots opticians seven days a week and they can usually test you within a couple of days. Medical Examination (usually within 4 weeks of returning the eyetest results and completed medical questionnaire). The medical itself is contracted-out & the biggest cause of delays, especially if individuals don't plan ahead, read the letter and produce relevant medical documentation on the day or chase-up their GP surgery to ensure they have responded to a written request. In my region medicals can be undertaken on saturdays - all the individual need do is ask what days are available.

    4. PJFT - contracted out (mostly) to Nuffield Health, who are open weekdays 0630-2200, 0800-2100 saturdays and 0800 to 2100 sundays. The PJFT should be taken within 28 days of passing the medical, but I've known people book it the day after the medical.

    5. Security Clearance - conducted online at home, at work, college or in a library, you've got 28 days to complete it or the account gets binned.

    "Happy bus" is an interesting concept. I've attended RMR selection weekends previously on several occasions and tested, interviewed, medicalled & PJFT'd applicants in a single day, bussed-in from the region - problem is that the attrition rate is astronomical and the evolution is very manpower intensive - you pretty much need a ratio of more staff than applicants and about 30% fail the test, 5% of those left can fail the interview and as many as 50% of the remainder can be TMU on the day. After that up to 30% fail the PJFT. From every 10 applicants, you'd be lucky to get 3 candidates "good to go" on the day.

    However fast we process potential reservists, if the unit can't retain them, then the outflow will naturally be high.

    Whenever someone says the process takes too long, when you do a little digging, you generally find the individual is the root cause of the delays. To be fair, the unit Reserve Recruiting Pipeline Managers are worth their weight in gold because they chase-up the individuals to ensure they complete and return paperwork, chase-up their GP surgeries to respond to letters, ensure they take their eyetests, take PJFTs, complete online SC etc., which helps enormously. In regular-service terms, the AFCO would simply bin an applicant that doesn't move their application forward - the pipeline managers are, in my opinion, critical if the Reservist somehow feels he or she needs help completing selection because they already have a full time job and are therefore unable to complete selection in the same manner as the regular service applicant.
  16. I suspect there will always be a bit of a difference in approach between those candidates going full-time and those going reserve. If you're going full-time, you're looking for a job. If you're going reserve, you're looking for something interesting to do at the weekend and you think of yourself as doing the MOD a favour.

    What I just said is a massive, massive, massive generalisation. Begin whinges and anecdotal counter-evidence... now :)
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  17. Simple Reservist - I should have been clearer in my post - There's no doubt that the RNR adults are on board with this concept - the issue seems to lie with the full time grown ups.

    Heard the latest - Holding classes to cease! Don't agree with it myself. We've had guys messed about by the recruitment system so much and they have all said that had it not been for attending the holding class they would have thrown the towel in months ago. We've had around seven who have completed the process in the last four weeks and all are products of the holding class concept. The holding class brings them into the unit and show's them what's in store when they get through it.
  18. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Again, a few years back, but I seem to remember some chimp bleating that a girl had been attending their RNR unit for a whole year only to be "kicked out by the AFCO". Outrageous, it was.

    The reason? She had only sat the recruiting test, hadn't been interviewed, 'medicalled' ,completed the PJFT or SC and because she was attending a "holding class", issued her uniform etc., she thought she was in. She wasn't, far from it.

    Another example was this "great bloke", ex-Army, attending ad hoc, yet to undergo any form of selection. He was so good that he was helping out with the cadets too.

    It transpired he was discharged from the Army. The reason? Kiddie fiddling.
  19. NS, obviously there's management needed of these things. In the past we had experiences of people not making any effort to move through the system. That is up to the unit RO and careers service to keep in top of. The RN take people on weekends who are not fully passed everything so i see little difference in that and the holding class.
  20. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Concur. There are always potential pitfalls.

    A current classic is undergrads serving as URNU officer cadets who have a chat with the unit CO and that's pretty much it. They have a "medical" in which very wide parameters are applied. The upshot is the odd individual later applying to join the regular service failing a selection element & throwing a hissy fit. Why, if they were good enough to go to sea on a commissioned "warship" (as an epileptic, asthmatic, manic depressive, under-educated, buffoon with IBS, that cannot pass the recruiting test, sift interview, medical, PJFT and AIB) can they not just transfer the regular service?

    The only thing I would say in realistic terms is that for reservists, same as regulars, we do try to nurture candidates but the AFCO will not and cannot play nursemaid to those who cannot be arsed getting their eyes tested, improving their fitness, returning paperwork etc,. This particularly applies when the AFCO has to prioritise through lack of AFCO manpower and an ever-increasing administrative burden.

    Whether it's a full time job or a part time job, the entry standards are the same and it's a paid job, not a charity or a youth entertainment scheme.
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