March 5th 2021

Officer Training Corps at university develops transferable skills

Pippa on camp in 2019

Pippa on camp 2019

Pippa Saunders, 22, is studying Construction Engineering Management at Loughborough University. We spoke to her about her experiences as part of East Midlands Universities Officer Training Corps (EMUOTC).

What attracted you to join East Midlands Universities Officer Training Corps (EMUOTC)?

The biggest thing that attracted me to EMUOTC was that it was something interesting to do with my time while at university. Additionally, it was somewhere that I could socialise and make close friends. I was previously a Cadet with Cambridgeshire ACF from age 13, and I stayed until I turned 18. This sparked my interest in the military and helped me develop into a more confident and sociable person.

Pippa Saunders in Army camouflage

Pippa Saunders, Junior Under Officer, Intermediate Company

What do you enjoy most about the society? 

It’s the relationships you build with everyone. But most recently, I have also enjoyed being able to take on responsibility as JUO of the Intermediate company and be able to see what I am like as a leader.

I also had the privilege of taking part in two brilliant Adventurous Training trips while at EMUOTC. One was kayaking down the Ardèche river in Southeast France – East Midlands RFCA actually helped fund that one, so thank you! And the other one was trekking in Norway. Both have so many funny memories with my friends that are still joked about even after most of them have moved on from EMUOTC.

A kayak tips into the water off the side

Pippa on her kayaking trip with EMUOTC

How have activities this year been affected?

It has been disappointing not being able to provide training in person. Although the exercises are generally very cold and wet, I still have so many great memories.  I gained so much from those experiences. The majority of the training this year has been virtual, and it is impossible to replicate. My only hope is that we can fit some in before the term ends.

What have you learned from being part of  the Officer Training Corps?

Being part of a team. I have built so many great relationships with people and working within a team has been a large contributor to that. This has mostly been provided by the culture, which in my experience has always been about giving each other support and encouragement.

Also, the list of transferable skills is endless!  I have developed skills in communication, taking on responsibility, and being in a position of authority. They have all helped me grow in confidence.

An Army Reserve soldier carries another on their shoulders on exercise

Face to face training exercises have been missed this year

What are you most looking forward to once you can meet properly again, post-Covid?

Hopefully, there is some opportunity for EMUOTC to get some good training and social events in before I graduate. I am most looking forward to getting stuck into the exercises and guiding the Intermediate company through their training.

What are your plans for the future?

I graduate this summer and plan to start the regular commissioning course in September. I had only intended to commission into the Reserves until about eight months ago. During my industrial placement year, I began to realise the Army had more offer me than a career in the construction industry.

I hope that I can have a fulfilling career in the Regular Army. With my background in construction, I would like to be able to use my technical knowledge wherever my career ends up. At some point, my career may take me away from the Regular Army and into a civilian career. If it does, I would aim to join the Reserves, as everything the Army has provided me so far has been invaluable.

Visit East Midlands Universities Officer Training Corps to find out more about broadening your skills whilst at University.

"I have developed skills in communication, taking on responsibility, and being in a position of authority, and they have all helped me grow in confidence." - Pippa Saunders