Students

Lt. Colonel Simon Gray, Commanding Officer, Cambridge University OTC
If you’d seen them when I managed to attract them to join the OTC in October, 120 kids fresh from home starting their university life, the difference only a few months make is incredible.

Emma Jude, student, veterinary science, Cambridge
It was an incredible experience.

Tobias Ellwood, UK Member of Parliament, London, OTC graduate
University is interesting in that it teaches you how to think. The Officer Training Corps is stepping into another dimension. Not only does it build on that but it also builds on your confidence to lead. It’s actually creating leaders. University doesn’t focus on that at all.

David Wilson, Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge
I look at the OTC as one of the ways, one amongst several, where our students can realize their own potential. We have a number of students who are members of the OTC and they make full use of their time. They do a huge number of things they couldn’t do in other ways. Adventure training, leadership, even learning something about command, something about being a disciplined organization.

Edward Dickins, student, Peterhouse, Cambridge
It certainly developed me as an individual. My second term at university, for example, I found myself in freezing conditions with severe risk of hypothermia, in charge of 20 people running a river crossing and then navigating back to your harbour location.

Sacha Macey, Director of Corporate Business, London; Captain, University of London OTC
It’s an organization that gives you an opportunity to get out and about and do really cool stuff on the weekend. It’s different, it’s unusual, getting you out of your comfort zone and achieving something.

Sarah Burden, student, St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge
I think, with the OTC, what I like best is the physical, the mental challenge, testing your limits. All sorts of challenges. I get to find fulfilment, as it were. The OTC has definitely helped me manage my time better, and have a sense of urgency in what I do. I can manage to get things done a lot quicker than other people without fussing around and wasting time.


The Armed Forces

Dr. Tom Bragg, Plastic Surgery, Registrar St. George’s Hospital, London, OTC graduate
I think the Officer Training Corps is a very effective way of removing the barbed wire from around the military. This allows ordinary individuals at a very key stage in their life to get exposure to the military. It sows the seeds of responsibility in society and in defense.

Major General Andrew Farquhar, General Officer Commanding 5th Division, British Army
In the military, we see ourselves as entirely reliant on support from the nation. And as we say in doctrinal terms in the military, our centre of gravity is having the support of every single person in the nation. Because if we don’t get that, politically and militarily we could not function.

What we are doing in the University Officer Training Corps is planting that seed of understandingwhich grows we hope quite positively as someone goes through that normal civilian life and spreads the word, and hopefully they will self-seed, if you like, through their careers, through their families, through the wider society they talk to. So to us, the OTC is a vital tool, but fundamentally it will shape the understanding and support of the nation for the Army.

Dr. Kristian Gustafson, Centre for Intelligence & Security Studies, Brunel University London
The military looks at the body of students and sees future opinion formers, people who are going to be in business, in government, people who are going to be influential, and so wants to take these people and educate them (about) the military. The OTC is a great way of training officers. But second is that ambassadorial role of showing the public that the military is not a bad thing, making the public familiar with the military command.

Jennifer Rigby, Bursar Churchill College, Cambridge, OTC graduate
With diminishing military forces around the country, it’s important people see the military as being part of normal life and part of normal activity, be it academic activity or working activity.

Alice Rendek, Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University, URTP graduate
Well, if students object, I would ask them: Don’t you need a good base of officers to run the military? You want your officers to be well educated, and to have skills such as good leadership and discipline. And where would you get them? The university I think is a good place to look for men and women.

Kathy Roth-Douquet, President and CEO, Blue Star Families, Washington D.C.
How do we get people in places where they can naturally know people who are in the military? One good way is to recruit everywhere. Another is to have ROTC in universities, because then you’ll go through school and you’ll get to know somebody and this is your buddy but ten years later he’s on the front line and you’re going to read that news a little bit more carefully because that’s your buddy who’s out there and you’ll be engaged a little bit more because of that.

 


Business

Christopher Histead, CEO Public Technology Ltd., London, OTC graduate
My academic career ended with a lowly third-class degree in physics and computer science, and I’ve never used a drop of that since. I believe very large amounts of my success as a business person in the UK has been driven by what I learned at the OTC 20 years ago. What I learned from my academic degree has got no comparison to the value of the OTC for a business person.

Your patterns of behavior, patterns of doing things which deliver results, that training has been developed over 200 years and has proven to work.

Sacha Macey, Captain, University of London OTC, Director of Corporate Business, London
We’re not looking for people who want to join the Army 110 percent. We’re looking for people who are going to be the leaders in business in 10 to 20 years’ time, maybe go into politics.

When you put someone in the position where they are in charge of 25 people, they have to command them, they have to control them, they have to know what they’re doing to be able to carry out the mission they have been given by their commander. Using that platform as the implementing model, it’s the best way to teach these students leadership.

Adrian Kinnersley, Managing Director, Twenty Recruitment Group,London, OTC graduate
It does build lifelong bonds with people who inevitably can help you push the door open a little bit.

Jennifer Rigby, Bursar Churchill College, Cambridge, OTC graduate
James Danvers received a really good job offer from someone in the City of London. There’s fierce competition for those jobs, and he said you have to see the notes of the interviewer who interviewed him for the job. He highlighted two things, one of which was the fact he’d been in the OTC and the other that he had been at Cambridge. The combination of the two was magic.


Society

Prof. David Ritchie, National Chairman of the Council of Military Education Committees, London
When you see, as I have seen at close quarters over many years, the product that comes out of this in terms of someone who in my view is head and shoulders in all sorts of qualities above an average student who has come out of an undergraduate corps, then one begins to see the benefits of that type of training to society.

James Danvers, student, Homerton College, Cambridge
It’s beneficial to society to have people who have an understanding of the military and of the work the Army does. I do say that, in terms of the ethos that the OTC fosters in me, in terms of the camaraderie, the trust that you have in others, your willingness to have a get up and go attitude to life is valuable not just to society but to the individual as well.

Ed Broadbent, former Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, URTP graduate
It’s important for men and women that go into strictly civilian life to know something about the details of the role of the military in a democratic country like ours. And I think that having their presence in the provincial legislatures and the Parliament of Canada is an unequivocal plus.

Hon. John Fraser, former Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, COTC graduate
When they ended the officer training at the universities, they denied a lot of young Canadians a chance to serve the country and understand the military. But they also denied the country something. They denied the country the leaders that program created.

Kathy Roth-Douquet, President and CEO, Blue Star Families, Washington D.C.
The reason that the larger society should understand the military is not because we want to be nice to the military. It’s because we want to be a successful country.