have failed to arrive; there are 22 left. It is our job to allay any preconceived perceptions of the process and ‘tell it how it is’. Yes, they will be in atough competition for alimited number of places and some will not be selected. However,they will learn alot about themselves and may even find that they enjoy the OASC experience! What is important is that we try to manage expectation. They will only be able to rely so much on their own preparation for their visit here. So, we explain to them that, even if they have all the potential to become a future Chief of the Air Staff,they will not be successful if they do not show the required potential for us to select them.

Denims and bibs On Monday morning, after an early breakfast, the candidates will have changed into the celebrated OASC denims and bibs. They are arranged into four syndicates and each syndicate is collected by one of the two boarding officers. The Exercise Phase (EP) has begun. There are five of them: the Discussion, the Group Planning, the Leaderless, the Command Situations and the Individual Planning. Essentially,weare selecting against likely success on IOT so there are five competencies we look

for: Confidence and resilience, oral communications, influence, problem solving and teamwork.

As the exercises progress, afinal EP score is given; it is this score which determines whether or not an individual progresses through to the interview.Some will not pass. Sadly, these candidates will be sent home but they will not be told this until Tuesday morning. Before this decision is given to them, though, the BOs spend aconsiderable amount of time discussing their performances (along with the more difficult ‘borderline’ cases). Athird officer,the Board President, is present at this discussion and will record the points at this debrief.Onthis particular board, it has been decided that 6candidates will be sent home after the EP.There are 16 left to interview.

The good news, or the bad news On Tuesday morning, the OASC Duty Officer reads out the list of those who are required to stay for the remaining elements of the process. There is no easy way of giving bad news but those who are staying for the interviews are swiftly led away.Those left behind will be told that they are going home. From my experience, the candidates

react more emotionally at this stage than they do at the aptitude review. For now,they are going home not because of alack of an innate ability but because they failed to perform adequately across arange of different competencies alongside other candidates. Before they have too much time to dwell on their shortcomings, however,they are called through to see their Board President who will give them afrank, but sensitive, debrief on where they went wrong. For some, the experience will have been nothing short of an ordeal and the selection process will have served only to show them that the RAF is not for them. For others, OASC will have been an illuminating, if difficult, voyage of self-discovery; they will want to come back and try again without having the ‘fear of the unknown’ hanging over them.

The remaining 16 will move on the Interview although some will also be attending an additional Medical Board for their specialist branch choice. The extent of the medical examinations will vary,dependent on branch, but it is asad fact of life that, again, some will fail. It is very disappointing for us when we see high quality candidates (who have everything going for them in terms of aptitudes,

Images MOD copyright 2017

Spring 2017

Envoy 13

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