What can you expect to do during your time with the ULOTC?
The selection process is the first step – if successful you enter ‘Athlone Company’ in a section of about ten other Officer Cadets. Athlone Company is the basic training phase of the ULOTC, and takes two terms. After completing the MTQ1 exam and final training exercise, you are invited to ‘pass off’ the square – an event which you parents and friends are welcome to attend.
Preparation for the summer Annual Camp then begins; a two week exercise which will put what you have learned in Athlone Company to the test, and introduce you to new aspects of the ULOTC, such as adventurous training and the Special-to-Arm troops.
The selection process begins with an introduction evening at our Central London HQ. There you will get to meet and chat to current Officer Cadets, and have the opportunity to find out a bit more about the ULOTC.
You will also have a short, relaxed interview with an Army Officer during the introduction evening. This serves both as an opportunity for us to become acquainted with you, and a chance for you to ask any questions or concerns you may have.
A medical date will also be booked for you. The medical examination is to determine if you are capable of taking part in training. There are restrictions for those applying who have an history of asthma, diabetes, mental illness, or epilepsy.
The first year is often found to be the most intense and demanding. Many Officer Cadets have had no previous contact with the Army, but training is progressive and everyone starts at the same level.
You will undertake Military Training Qualification 1 (MTQ1), equivalent to a soldier’s basic training. From how to iron and wear your uniform, to firing a rifle, to survuval tactics such as map reading and first aid – it’s all covered in Athlone Company.
The MTQ2 qualification, studied in the second year (B Company), develops the leadership aspects of military training. As an officer your ability to command troops in a decisive manner will be of paramount importance. Throughout the MTQ2 syllabus the principles of leadership and their practical application are explored in depth to prepare you for positions of command.
The MTQ2 syllabus is mentally and physically challenging but highly rewarding. By the end of the course you will be able to confidently prepare and deliver orders to your troops in preparation for a command appointment in the third year or in preparation for the Sandhurst commissioning course.
In year two the basics of leadership, command, and control are taught in B Company. This is MTQ2, and after successfully completing the exam you may apply for a City and Guilds GNVQ in Military Skills; a broadly recognised qualification. Term two introduces Special-to-Arm training, and you can choose to join one of the ULOTC’s seven troops.
You will undertake the demanding ‘Train the Trainer’ exercise in your second Annual Camp, which will prepare you to teach the skills and knowledge you have acquired to new recruits in Athlone Company.
Finally, you must attend the Selection Weekend in order to join. This takes place at an Army base in Norfolk and comprises a series of tests and interviews over two days.
Throughout the Selection Weekend you will be in a small group of other potential Officer Cadets. The tests will have a physical element, to determine your fitness and upper body strength. There are also further interviews, group discussions, and logic and command tests.
If you are succesful, you will enter Athlone Company and begin training the very next week.
Your ‘section’ is your closest group. Made up of about ten Officer Cadets with which you do all training, and is led by an experienced Section Commander.
A written exam will test the theory you have learned in Athlone, and a final training exercise will test the skills you have picked up. Once these are complete, you can attend the Pass-Off parade to celebrate the completion of your basic training.
A practical exam follows the MTQ2 course at the end of the winter term. In the new year, you will be able to select from the seven sub-units for specialist training. Here you will begin to move away from basic soldiering, and undertake more diverse training. Off-road driving, demolitions, vehicle repair, and urban combat are just some of the types of training Officer Cadets do in the second year.
With the MTQ2 qualification safely under your belt after your second year, the opportunity will then be provided to try for a command position in the third year. If selected you will form part of the training team instructing the new recruits in Athlone Company.