Author Topic: "Rising Above the Rest of your peers - Promotion on Re-entry to the RAF"  (Read 2243 times)

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Online MarkOttawa

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Start of a post at Thin Pinstriped Line--example for RCAF (and other services)?

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The Royal Air Force has recently publicised the details of its scheme designed to attract former service members to re-join the RAF. The scheme is intended to provide an opportunity for people who have left to consider applying to re-enter the military and resume their career. (Full details can be found HERE https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/how-to-apply/rejoiners-and-inter-service-transfer/).

To some serving personnel the process is controversial since rejoiners can be considered for promotion into a higher rank, depending on the experience they have accrued while outside. To some this is seen as ‘an insult’ to serving personnel in that it rewards those who have left, while not addressing the root cause of what is causing people to leave in the first place. To Humphrey this scheme is a very welcome and common sense idea that has the potential to bring a real infusion of people back into the system to fill gaps which would otherwise be empty.

The reality of life is that everyone who joins the armed forces will one day leave or retire. The career model for decades has been based on the notion of joining aged about 16-20 and then serving a full career of about 22 years or to 55 depending on your service. Should you choose to leave before this point, then there is usually no easy way back in – to the extent that Humphrey has met naval officers who have passed out of BRNC Dartmouth twice because they were made to redo the AIB when rejoining the Service a few years after leaving.

 While attrition is expected and inevitable (and is reflected in part in the thinning of posts at more senior levels as manpower numbers drop), there is still a problem with too many people leaving at the wrong points, for example a high outflow of JNCO’s – causing not only gaps in that rank, but then creating a ‘black hole’ of manpower shortages that will take years to work through the system.

The lack of direct entry means that should a Flight Sergeant with 15 years’ experience leave, then the only real way to replace them is to recruit someone and wait many years for them to be promoted to the same rank and be appointable to fill those SNCO posts.

The challenge is particularly pronounced because the armed forces are not a homogenous block of people. There may be (for example) 2000 Chief Petty Officers in the Royal Navy, but that doesn’t mean you can appoint them interchangeably. A CPO Logistician in the Fleet Air Arm is not realistically able to do the job of a CPO Nuclear Watchkeeper on a submarine. With an enormous range of trades and specialisations in the system, the numbers of personnel in any branch is often relatively small, along with the career opportunities.

If people leave early, the posts still need to be filled, meaning that hard pressed areas (for example nuclear engineers) will see people posted to the operationally essential roles like being at sea, and get far less downtime on other less intense roles, such as working ashore. If a branch has a plot of 40 SNCO posts and only 25 personnel qualified to fill it, then the pressure on those 25 will be ridiculous and cause a cycle of further retention challenges.

People leave for different reasons – many have tired of the peculiar demands of the military lifestyle, while others want more certainty in their career postings. Family demands such as school needs or caregiving responsibilities may force someone to leave to be in a specific geographic area, or people just want a change in circumstances. Some leave because the relentless pace of operational deployments has exhausted them and is causing family rifts. Others leave because having done an operational tour, life in barracks and exercises holds no appeal at all. There is no coherent rhyme or reason why people walk away and it is impossible to create a package of retention measures that will address all of these concerns.

The move to consider re-entry then is important because it recognises two things. Firstly that people who leave may want to come back in at a later date when their life circumstances make it possible to do so.  Secondly, that the system is recognising that in some specific cases they have gained relevant experience that warrants recognition, and in turn could help solve wider manpower problems...
https://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.com/2018/10/rising-above-rest-of-your-peers.html

Mark
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Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline Colin P

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Certainly an option in technical trades where the individual has acquired a skillset outside of the forces and can bring that back with them.

Offline SupersonicMax

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We need to dissociate technical skills with rank.  Technical skills are useful at the working ranks. 

What we need is two streams for those trades, this way we retain technical excellence and pay keeps going up.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Seems to me that the Americans are, again, on to something with their "warrant" officers who are technical experts that are neither "enlisted" nor "officers" but in a land of their own - unlike our (and I include the UK) Warrants, who are still part of the "enlisted" ranks "leadership-and-command" structure.

Heck! It also works for pilots that only fly but don't "administer-and-lead".  :nod:

Online MarkOttawa

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At end, Sergeant Pilots (higher rank Flight Sergeant):

Quote
...
Although thousands of wartime pilots, trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, received their wings as sergeants, the RCAF strove to commission them as soon as possible. Pilot training from scratch was suspended in 1945 but resumed in 1947, at which time the force pursued an “all-officer” policy for major aircrew categories, including pilots and navigators. Thus, the 52 NCO pilots were a unique “club” in the history of the force.
https://legionmagazine.com/en/2005/09/the-nco-pilots/

Mark
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Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline Infanteer

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We need to dissociate technical skills with rank.  Technical skills are useful at the working ranks. 

What we need is two streams for those trades, this way we retain technical excellence and pay keeps going up.

You are right on the money with this.  Perhaps the change can be subtle, perhaps dramatic, but some occupations require rank for echeloning leadership, while other occupations require some form of recognition of technical competence.

Thinking outside the box, perhaps everyone starts in an "entry rank," and then, as they progress into a specific occupation or sub-occupation, they enter a "leader stream" or a "technical stream."
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline dapaterson

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Trade Advancement through Skill and Knowledge (TASK) was a mid '90s attempt to provide for something like this, a progression and compensation model that would reward technical skills, so, in some instances, supervisors might well make less than subordinates of the same trade.

The concept foundered, as I understand it, not because of a lack of buy-in at most senior levels, but due to direction that the proposal be cost-neutral (remember, this was the era of FRP and freezes) and thus for long-serving Cpls to get more, others would have to get less.
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Offline SupersonicMax

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It would need to be a selective process:  not everyone in the technical trades would be eligible, only people with above average to superior skills as demonstrated throught gaining high-end skills.  With a stream for tech trades and a stream for leadership, both merit based, there would be an argument for “up or out” to be viable and get ride of truly deadweight:  if you can’t make it up the ranks and you are below average or worst, you don’t get to keep your job.  Keep average people in their current rank with no annual pay increase.  That’ll give an incentive for people to either out the effort in to perform technically or put effort in being a leader.

Offline Dimsum

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You are right on the money with this.  Perhaps the change can be subtle, perhaps dramatic, but some occupations require rank for echeloning leadership, while other occupations require some form of recognition of technical competence.

Thinking outside the box, perhaps everyone starts in an "entry rank," and then, as they progress into a specific occupation or sub-occupation, they enter a "leader stream" or a "technical stream."

Perhaps something like the old US Army Specialist scheme where it was a whole slew of ranks, not just the current SPC.

Or, and I'm sure it's been mentioned before, just a single Specialist rank with more IPCs.  If the IPCs correspond with what a MCpl, Sgt, WO, etc make then the Specialist wouldn't be put out for pay but will be a technical SME wth none of the leadership requirements/duties.

Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

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In CFB Chatham the radar trade was responsible for maintaining the Hughes MG-13 fire control system of the CF-101 Voodoo.The system was an old complex relay laden analog computer tied to an equally old radar system, and equally complex test equipment. As usual with many trades we had techs that were known as the best in their ability.
And as time went by they were promoted away from the aircraft. And with their higher rank often transferred to other bases. Naturally good for them but with them went years of accumulated knowledge and experience.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Start of a post at Thin Pinstriped Line--example for RCAF (and other services)?

Mark
Ottawa

They would probably be better off introducing a formal 'sabbatical' period where, after 8 years or so, you can spend two years working with an associated private sector organization, then come back and carry on....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon