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    I may not be in the RAF ads but I feel I can shed some light on your question.

    Essentially, there are meetings going on between the SABM and Cranwell because the guys at Boulmer feel the aptitude tests at Cranwell do not necessarily reflect ABM potential.

    There have been cases of people scoring well on the ABM aptitude and failing the 6 week stream, alternatively a Sqn Ldr I spoke to at Boulmer said they requested someone who failed their ABM aptitude at OASC be put through anyway and he passed the 6 week stream.

    SABM want the Cranwell tests to be more ABM specific but on the flip side, how can Cranwell make a general aptitude test specific to one branch?

    Hope this helps.
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    Oddly enough, during a flight on an E3 i was talking to several fighter controllers/surveillance guys and when i asked about the tests at OASC they said almost exactly what you said.

    "The aptitude tests reflect very poorly on the job we do and it isn't something that's being changed as far as i am aware. They are still a good measure however on your general memory, maths and multi-tasking skills, so they do hold some weighting towards trainability (at this point the guy shrugged and smiled)"
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    Funny that. They have been saying the same things since at least the mid 90s. There were the same concerns then - and Fighter Controller / ABM has always been the course to fail before a re-Branch. Either there isn't an answer or they have not found the right one yet.
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    Small diversion here, may i ask what it is you do ProStacker?
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    Yes, you may ask.
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    Then i shall: Prostacker, what is it you do?
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    Thanks guys, I guess Ive just got to sit out the wait. Its been over 5 weeks since I got back from OASC but hopefully next week will be the week!
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    (Original post by Jason.faceplant)
    Then i shall: Prostacker, what is it you do?
    There's generally a clue in the name Jason :facepalm:
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    Lots of people don't know trade nicknames, 3pd. There's a great majority of people on IOT with me who don't know what techies are, let alone 'blunties', 'stackers', 'fairies', et al.
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    So he's a Loadie? do you know why my name is jason.faceplant?
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    (Original post by Jason.faceplant)
    So he's a Loadie? do you know why my name is jason.faceplant?
    Not quite...think "blanket stacker". That's where the name is derived from...it's not hard!

    And my guess for your name is that you're either an extreme sports enthusiast.
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    Nailed it - damn it :P:
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    Just what do teh kidz class as extreme sports these days? Rad and, erm, gnarly.
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    This kid: snowboarding, downhill mountain biking and dirt jumping. The middlemost one being why i fractured my pelvis last year :yep:
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    Well - snowboarding and mountain biking are recognized sports in the RAF. I've been involved in both a little over the years.

    Oops - thread drift - sorry all you ABM fans!
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    (Original post by ads392)
    They told me its something to do with ABM aptitude tests and there is meetings going on- do you know more about this? (that many young officers are failing their aptitudes after the 6-week ABM foundation course at Boulmer).

    Im concerned as I only achieved a 108 score for ABM with 100 being a pass. Are they considering increasing the ABM cut off score or anything like that?
    Adam,

    I've replied to your PM, but since this sparked off several posts I'll also go into more detail on here. I've deliberately highlighted your comment above and I'll also answer that.

    As I said in my PM, I am aware that there have been meetings at OASC about the aptitude tests; what either the content or the output of those meetings is, I don't know - I'm not plugged into OASC, you see. Personal opinion only: I would be surprised if a meeting, or as PS and Rooster rightly say, an ongoing debate about the efficacy of the aptitude tests would directly affect a current application. I would also be surprised (given that OASC are yet to meet their ABM recruitment target for this year) if they were to randomly adjust the scores in the middle of an OASC board... but then, I don't know what goes on down there!

    To the debate about the efficacy of aptitude tests / ABMSC: think of the ABMSC as Elementary Flight Training (EFT). In the same way that OASC indicates that someone has the capacity to be a pilot, it does not give sufficient indication as to which airframe they are suited for - no-one is streamed F2 at OASC! As Rooster points out, the OASC tests have to be sufficiently generic to cover all candidates / all options, which means they cannot be specific enough to accurately stream airframe / ABM role at that stage. So in the same way that EFT more accurately streams for airframe, ABMSC is designed to more accurately stream for ABM role.

    (Original post by ProStacker)
    Funny that. They have been saying the same things since at least the mid 90s. There were the same concerns then - and Fighter Controller / ABM has always been the course to fail before a re-Branch.
    You are correct, PS- if this were still the 90s! This is not a personal dig, but this is precisely the sort of hang-over mis-information we're trying to combat! EFT, ABMSC or any selection system, is not 100% accurate. EFT draws from approximately 2000 candidates a year, who have already been whittled down to that point from initial selection, through OASC and so on. By the time they get to EFT a high percentage of unsuitable candidates have already been streamed out. Once there, there is a wider pool of candidates from which to select with a wider selection of roles to offer and, therefore, statistics and the law of averages mean that the statistical percentage of 'chopees' on EFT will be quite small.

    Speaking statistically, and these are our own stats, ABMSC is 90% accurate and we have an 80% qualified into professional duty rate. What does that mean in reality? Well, ABMSC is a simulator that works by loading a candidate's capacity whilst mimicking the day to day task of the role for which it is selecting. Since it mimics the role, it cannot encompass every situation you may encounter in real-life and, since it is simulation, it is 'safe'.

    We run 5 officer ABMSCs a year with a maximum of 12 candidates each. Some candidates get to ABMSC demonstrating some aptitude for ABM, which then cannot be focussed to the specific task, sometimes simply because it is a simulator (it is in many ways a 'game'). Historically, averaged out, roughly one candidate is unsuitable per ABMSC - they get re-selected back to OASC. So, that makes 5 out of a potential pool of 60 per year = approx 91% pass at ABMSC.

    So, 90% enter live training. Students, as I have said in a previous post, are given ample opportunity to make it as an ABM. We cannot afford to 'chop' people as we've jobs to fill, but a small number of candidates simply cannot make a successful transition into their training for a whole variety of reasons. For example, some people find the transition from the 'safe' simulator, where nothing is real and the only life on the line is theirs (not really!), to the live environment, where every decision or action has a real operational consequence, quite tough to handle. This is not an attendance course, people, even very good people, will struggle at some point; most recover in the course of normal training.

    For those people who hit a roadblock, there are 3 stages of remedial training prior to a recommendation to withdraw them from their course. The intial recommendation for remedial training will come from their Course Manager, who has direct responsibility for the individual. The second stage is considered by OC A Sqn (a Sqn Ldr), who will have had direct oversight of their training. The third stage is considered by Wg Cdr SABM, who is completely impartial wrt their training. Any recommendation for withdrawal ultimately goes up to Gp Capt (Station Commander) level. So, to your point PS, these days it is a big decision to chop someone and almost all candidates will qualify given the right opportunity, which this system is designed to provide - hence our figure of 80% into prodcutive service, ie fully qualified, commission confirmed and so on.

    So what does the 80% mean? Realistically, again in comparison to EFT, since we have lower numbers to stream from, with fewer roles to fill (IDO, WC and Crew Commander (Space)), the stats are skewed and can be interpreted as showing a higher failure rate. In reality, across the board (and that includes SNCOs whom I haven't included in the ABMSC figures here, as they have 3 additional separate streaming boards to themselves) the 20% failure rate equates to another 5 people overall who either do not complete the training for their intial streaming and are re-streamed into another ABM role (which again skews the figures!), or a sub-set of those 5 who are sent to OASC for re-selection. As I say, these are our in-house stats, "Other statisitics may be available" , and I know of at least one big survey which is inaccurate as it did not account for 're-treads'.

    What I hope this has shown is that when people are hearing 'many young officers are failing their aptitudes after the 6-week ABM foundation course at Boulmer', it is patently, and please excuse my French, b*((*£ks - lies, damn lies and statistics, and all that! Put the word out.

    This obviously causes uncertainty - what if you're not one of the 90% / 80%? - which is clearly a factor in deciding to go for ABM - as it was for me when I applied. The system, as I've shown, is not perfect; however, if OASC shows that you have sufficient aptitude the only way to confirm that is to complete ABMSC. Remember, there is a greater chance that you will pass than fail!

    Vizzini
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    Vizzini - all very interesting. I was just reflecting that the stories generated now about how hard ABM training is are the same as they always have been - and that OASC selection wasn't 'right' for ABM potential. As an aptitude-based Branch, you'll always have those who just can't do what is needed more than my own Branch, so there will always be a few who don't make it. Of all those I've interviewed over the years for potential re-Branching, 95% have been from ABM or Aircrew and the split hasn't been that much between them.
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    Just to add a historical note (I'm best at them!) in the late 80's and early 90's FC used to have a phenomenal failure rate, figures of 90% ie 9 out of the course of 10 were failing, regularly. This led to a major review of selection and training in the early 90's. It is clearly pointless and not cost effective to just chuck people at it and see what happens.

    So there is a history to the difficulty in creating effective aptitude tests etc. However, things did change and improve for at least a decade. If anyone has any contact with people with experience based before the mid 90's (a few of us still exist) then don't be put off by the historical reputation of the branch chop rates.

    I suspect what has happened is that they reviewed it all circa '91-92 and then did nothing more, but in recent years technology and operations have moved on a pace with a consequent change in the priority of certain aptitudes, decision making influence etc. The change of branch name gives some indication of how the work has developed recently. So another rebalancing of the selection and training process is required.

    Other branches have undergone significant changes in style/focus, driven by operational changes, Int and Logs spring instantly to mind. But they are less aptitude based that ABM and just require different (and probably more straightforward) training.
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    (Original post by ProStacker)
    Of all those I've interviewed over the years for potential re-Branching, 95% have been from ABM or Aircrew and the split hasn't been that much between them.
    Sorry PS, I genuinely didn't mean to jump straight back in there and down your throat! What you say is fair enough and I bow to your experience - as I say it wasn't a dig (and I had forgotten your role!). Unfortunately, with all the stories surrounding this it's become difficult to draw the line between fact and banter, which is where I was aiming. There's almost a tacit expectation surrounding the aircrew roles and the stories are always about our chop rate, rather than the pass rate. Indeed, your post very usefully clarifies the difficulty in selecting for both roles, either with EFT or ABMSC, although we are getting better!

    I was also quite enjoying where the thread was going prior to this, especially after the martini conversation died... I've 'been involved in' (attended) the Ski Champs - seriously good fun! Something I wholeheartedly recommend to Jason!

    (Original post by Vizzini)
    I have some some updated information in the pipeline, but I need to check out the details before posting. Please stand by...
    Coming over all serious again, I posted this last week and I've subsequently checked the facts. Some of you may have seen these articles?

    Defence News 1

    RAF News

    Defence News 2

    The last 2 are the most relevant. I've written on here previously about the critical role that No 1 ACC has been playing out in theatre on Op HERRICK - they're now back in the UK.

    I've written a lot recently, so here are the basic facts:

    1. This is a planned ending to a standard operational commitment - no surprises! After 3 years in Theatre, 1 ACC will now recover and get ready for their next deployment, whatever that may be.

    2. ABMs are still committed to Op HERRICK on the ground and in the air.

    3. In practice, that means we are supplying ABMs to the 2 US forces now tasked with controlling the Air War in Afghan airspace - the USAF and the US Marine Corps (USMC). Until further notice we will have ABMs embedded with the USAF and with the USMC unit that has just taken over from 1 ACC. The E3-D force is also available and may well be used in the near future. In addition, we will also continue to put ABMs into the numerous Army and Joint units in theatre that we already support.

    5. This is an enduring commitment with our people on 6-month detachments, with people being drawn from across the whole of the ABM Community (including Space and E-3D). It is looking likely that we will have more operators in theatre, now spread out over the various posts, than we did when 1 ACC were in place.

    6. Both the USAF and the USMC are desperate to learn from our experience and we also need to keep developing our own people in line with that experience - this is the best way to do that.

    I can't go into too much more detail, clearly!

    Vizzini
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Just to add a historical note (I'm best at them!) in the late 80's and early 90's FC used to have a phenomenal failure rate, figures of 90% ie 9 out of the course of 10 were failing, regularly...
    Thanks TPD,

    You're quite right, gone are the days when, at the end of the ADFC, as was, the instructors used to hang a black flag out of their window before the candidates arrived! As you say, to a large extent these historical perceptions still exist - and it's our fault for not advocating our branch enough, hence our Engagement Team and my role...

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Other branches have undergone significant changes in style/focus, driven by operational changes, Int and Logs spring instantly to mind. But they are less aptitude based that ABM and just require different (and probably more straightforward) training.
    I wasn't going to be the one to say it ! As you say, though, everything is changing - ABM training and in-house streaming has changed to reflect that - but it's not just us, I'd imagine that OASC will have to react to that for all branches.

    Vizzini
 
 
 
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