Feedback request - Cost of extra kit during training

Ninja_Stoker

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OK, we're on a mission....

We forever see people asking what additional items of kit individuals should take to CTC upon commencement of recruit training.

Totally understandable but, as ever, we resolutely advise potential Royal Marines to ONLY take kit that is on the kitlist issued by their AFCO. Reason? The additional kit required is different troop to troop, gets confiscated if not on the supplementary list(s) issued after commencing training & returned home.

Conversely, some potential recruits get issued a Recruit Handbook (A5 published booklet) which contradicts the AFCO kitlist in some areas.

What extra kit? - Examples:- Ironing Board, Bucket, Jetboil, Compass, paracord, additional non-issue clothing, cam cream, satnav, etc.

Question is...Why?!

Our understanding is RM Recruits are advised to take about £200 when joining to cover incidental expenses after joining whilst waiting for the pay account to come online.

We're getting feedback that this money, and up to double that figure, is spent pretty much exclusively on additional kit required to undertake recruit training. Many ask the question why they are acquiring essential kit which should be provided through service sources and, frankly, most agree.

Why, for example do you need to buy your own steam iron or washing liquid/powder to do your job and maintain the kit you are issued? Why should a recruit need to buy their own toilet/bathroom cleaning equipment? If your boots need to be polished...should you be expected to buy the polish?

Therefore, confidentially assured, feedback would be very much appreciated detailing additional kitlists after joining and approx costs incurred.
 

Chelonian

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Our understanding is RM Recruits are advised to take about £200 when joining to cover incidental expenses after joining whilst waiting for the pay account to come online.

To be fair, it seems reasonable that a Recruit have sufficient funds to tide them over until the first pay cycle. But such funds should be a buffer, a safety net, not a pot of money to be exploited by the service to cover kit shortcomings.

The apparent inconsistency in which the 'policy' of Recruits having to buy kit is applied suggests that it's not an officially sanctioned policy at all but rather a bad habit that has remained unchecked by the head shed.
 

Caversham

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Bang on the button @Ninja_Stoker! This has always been the case, even going back to my day and it is absolutely outrageous. Items that are currently available from stores, such as irons and ironing boards, should not have to be bought and paid for by recruits.

Interestingly, after leaving the Corps, I was able to claim an allowance from HMRC for uniform cleaning and anything else that was required for being within a uniformed service, so maybe an avenue for Nods to explore, although I suspect that their salary will be within the pre tax allowance.

Whatever happens, and I sincerely hope that this doesn't lose momentum, this issue really needs to be brought to the attention of, firstly the Corps, who ARE aware of it, as the officers and SNCOs would have been through the same process, the MOD and if necessary the national press.

I can just imagine the reaction if a tabloid were to headline that recruits are having to purchase their own kit in order to proceed through RT. Officers would be dropping their caviar spoons and choking on their granola as they rushed to order that items should be made available.

They are working on the maxim that stores are for storing, which is amusing until you have to open up your wallet and pay for things that should be free.

Alan
 

wes3

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Certainly as a parent when we took our nod out at family day we spent well over £100 in the kit shop and that was on top of the £200+ already spent. Mine is on his 3rd ironing board after them being thrown about during thrashings. 3rd iron. One he broke second broke during 'extra phys'. We bought notebooks, socks, a hat which I don’t know the name of. More tent poles than enough as they got kicked over and broke. During the first few weeks the lads are in shock and aw so grab a pair of socks which means they never have their own and someone always has none. Sorry can’t remember what else we bought but remember thinking or the nice shoes I could have bought.
 

Caversham

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There does need to be separation of "what is nice to have" and "what is essential", purely because those in charge will cloud the issue by saying that it's personal choice as to what recruits have to buy. No it's not!

Ironing boards, irons, cleaning products, are not personal choices; they are essential. A Jet boil cooker is a personal choice, purely because no one wants to be crouched over a hexamine cooker trying to get a hot wet on, when a jet boil will do it much faster.

If TTs are trashing items such as ironing boards and irons they may think twice if it was a Pusser's item. Lost or damaged kit used to be covered by the person responsible by being given a Form S126, which meant that they had to pay for it.

Similarly the cleaning materials for the heads should be supplied and that was never an issue when I was at CTC. It may not have the fragrance of commercial products, but it done the job.

The Head Shed at CTC are burying their heads and ignoring what is going on and, as we are aware, they come on this site and see what is going on, so I sincerely hope that when they read this thread that they are embarrassed and get things changed and standardised for each Troop, because I feel that this issue is not going away anytime soon.

One last thing for any of them reading this......have a look at my signature, because that says it all!

Alan
 
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arny01

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Head torch
Ziplock waterproof bags
Waterproof notebook
Pens, pencils
First aid kit
Field wash and shave kit
Dark coloured flannel
Multiple Tupperware boxes
Small Mag lite torch
Model kit(I made one for my lad, purchased ones are silly money)
Iron
Ironing board.

The above items cost well over £200 and were not on the official kit list.

Cleaning items for the Accom, cleaning items for kit.

My lad was also expected to contribute to a troop fund to finance a GOPRO camera, which was used to film the troop video. In fairness these items were raffles off at the end of training.
 

sy_lume

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I would advise just taking the kit from the kit list provided.. but I would advise having more than £200 to your name..
 

Ninja_Stoker

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I think there is indeed a distinction between what is "nice to have" and what is essential to do the job asked of the recruit. The distinction is important but the lines get blurred. Individuals may think they are disadvantaged by not acquiring the additional kit or told the service issued kit isn't fit for task (!).

One thing I really, really don't understand is why people seem to repeatedly break irons & ironing boards. It's not as though they aren't fit for task or have a great deal of moving parts to go wrong.

Imagine for a moment if the average household went through a steam iron and ironing board every couple of months - the companies would go bankrupt through guarantees alone, so we can only imagine it's not through defective equipment or fair wear and tear. If Recruits are smashing their own kit through frustration then I have no sympathy and would fully understand why they must take their own irons - but ironing boards too?

A few years back the then Corps Colonel banned supplements. Why? Recruits were spending £80-£100 a month buying them and the question was asked...Why? If they are needed, the employer should be providing them. (They do nowadays, if they are deemed necessary on medical grounds).

Around five years ago, recruits used to get a£200 cash advance (loan) from their pay, so they had enough money for day to day sundries such as washgear, underwear, additional food and leisure activities. That was removed and now recruits are advised to bring £200 to get them through to payday but there's a disconnect with regard what the money is needed for.
 

mabelmoo73

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Our son left for RT with £300 (he started six weeks before his first pay day). The £300 lasted four weeks buying essentials including ironing board etc. Food was probably involved too. Not sure exactly what was bought in these first few weeks, however, after the fifth week my son used to text me with shopping lists - we had offered to buy equipment required to carry out his training; he was fresh out of school with a twin brother eating us out of house and home so we thought this was fair. I bought most items from Amazon, I’ve just gone through my Amazon orders. Brace yourself......

Plastic resealable
bags various sizes £8.99
£8.99
£4.70
£4.69
Superglue.............£2.99
Mirka Scotchbrite£14.99
Waterproof map
cover.....................£8.99
Carabiner keys.....£5.99
Nail polish
remover pads.......£4.50
Tampons..............£3.00
Calculator............£4.50
Metal ruler...........£3.99
Bulldog clips........£6.41
Survival tin..........£20.99 +£22
Snares/power
cord......................£19.99
Outdoor craft
knife.....................£12.45
Tracing paper......£3.79
10 x dry bags
various sizes........£55
Insoles x 2 pairs..£43
Mini maglite.......£14.99
Lumi pens...........£12.99
Another ironing
board....................£40
Another iron........£43
3 x large
plastic containers £19.99

TOTAL.................£390.92

It’s fair to say some of the above were essentials whilst other items made my son’s life at RT a little easier. Some items eg resealable bags were bought in bulk (far more cost effective) and he had spares to give to his mates. The insoles were obviously for his comfort and considering he did not suffer from shin splints, leg pain etc I believe it was money well spent.

This list doesn’t include items that he bought with the £300 in the first four weeks or any washing powder, boot polish etc. I know he also bought items from a kit store in Exeter throughout his RT. In any event, it’s fair to say the recommended £200 is a drop in the ocean.
 

westy

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I get recruits shouldn’t have to buy military kit, but I don’t see why they shouldn’t have to but there own washing powders/shower gel etc I mean my employer doesn’t supply mine but I still wash my work uniform.

On the ironing board side, I’m sure I’ve read on here that the ones they sell in the Naafi are cheap and that’s why they break? But if the training team are smashing them in 'extra phys'’s etc, maybe they need to be made accountable for replacing said items?
 

Andy2hips

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My lad joined mid month and had to wait 6 weeks before he got paid..... So £200 isn't enough to last. He had to pay out for loads stuff that wasn't on list.
I get recruits shouldn’t have to buy military kit, but I don’t see why they shouldn’t have to but there own washing powders/shower gel etc I mean my employer doesn’t supply mine but I still wash my work uniform.
So do I but the difference is they are in an enclosed community where they can't or don't get the chance to shop around for cheaper items products and have to be on point with their uniform bedding and admin which is daily, we if feeling skint can probably make stuff last,but if TT during a 'extra phys' have emptied said powder out or accidentally!! thrown a piece of equipment about or out a window who should pay for it the powers that be or the recruit who doesn't have the money or the family to sub him.(ps not saying all TT do this or this happens on a regular basis haha) Also our employers don't come into our personal space and move stuff around. So it would be the nod already uptohis eyeballs feeling the despair of having to replace things that he knows he can ill afford and will prob get in trouble again for not having the correct kit. I'm not saying those in recruit training should have an easy life but unfortunately the cost of living is getting harder and higher and for many living day to day is tough enough without having to supplement extra lists for training.
He also bought numerous trouser twists. Cleaning equipment secateurs waterproof map case waterproof notepads and pencils. Wet wipes to remove camo cream efficiently. Polish dusters cloths to clean... plastic bags there is more but i can't remember all at mo. Head torch as TT said ones issued were naff.
 

BM1995

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The only additional thing my partner took which wasn't on the kit list was an ironing board. He has spent far more than £200 in the first weekend with all the kit the TT told them they needed to purchase. All the way through training he has had to go to the kit shop every weekend! Only thing I can add to list which he has mentioned he has bought is webbing pouches at £35 ish and waterproof note books at about £7.
 

westy

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My lad joined mid month and had to wait 6 weeks before he got paid..... So £200 isn't enough to last. He had to pay out for loads stuff that wasn't on list.

So do I but the difference is they are in an enclosed community where they can't or don't get the chance to shop around for cheaper items products and have to be on point with their uniform bedding and admin which is daily, we if feeling skint can probably make stuff last,but if TT during a 'extra phys' have emptied said powder out or accidentally!! thrown a piece of equipment about or out a window who should pay for it the powers that be or the recruit who doesn't have the money or the family to sub him.(ps not saying all TT do this or this happens on a regular basis haha) Also our employers don't come into our personal space and move stuff around. So it would be the nod already uptohis eyeballs feeling the despair of having to replace things that he knows he can ill afford and will prob get in trouble again for not having the correct kit. I'm not saying those in recruit training should have an easy life but unfortunately the cost of living is getting harder and higher and for many living day to day is tough enough without having to supplement extra lists for training.
He also bought numerous trouser twists. Cleaning equipment secateurs waterproof map case waterproof notepads and pencils. Wet wipes to remove camo cream efficiently. Polish dusters cloths to clean... plastic bags there is more but i can't remember all at mo. Head torch as TT said ones issued were naff.

Kit for the job should be issued, washing kit including washing powder etc should be bought but if the TT are pouring this out then I think they should be accountable for this!

Maybe a look at the contractor who owns the Naffis as they are blatantly ripping off lads and shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it

£35 for webbing pouches is outrageous!!
 

Chelonian

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As an aside, from time-to-time lads on the main forum ask whether it is a requirement that they buy a suit for their recruitment interviews and for attending PRMC. I understand that owning one is not mandatory but they are reminded that it is a job interview and that they should wear their smartest rig. It rather highlights the obvious: many candidates are youngsters with very limited financial resources and not all have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad.

Looking at the £200 issue specifically, one could suggest that the Royal Marines impose a £200 membership fee upon anyone wishing to join. Okay, I'm playing devil's advocate here but I think that there is some merit to the suggestion.
 

Omega

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Can you claim tax relief on haircuts, shoe polish, etc?
 

Caversham

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Can you claim tax relief on haircuts, shoe polish, etc?
As I mentioned earlier I believe that you can claim income tax relief for uniform cleaning, but fairly sure that doesn't apply to haircuts etc. Also, not sure what the starting salary for Nods is these days, but if it's less than £11.8k then they won't be paying tax anyway.

Alan
 

arny01

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Reading through this thread it’s quite obviously a concerning issue. I must admit. My son had £200 in his wallet for day 1 week 1. I was under the impression they were beer tokens?:confused:

I think this is one of those threads that could gather serious momentum and cause huge issue to the head shed at CTC.

My son said something quite funny the weekend. “A civvie out ranks everyone in the military”.

Food for thought??
 

lilsis

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I got told by my son when he was home for families day that the haircuts are £8 a go and his hair needs doing every 2 weeks as it grows that fast so his sister has brought him a pair of clippers as an early Xmas present just to cut down on costs
He started with £275 and that went pretty quick since then he has had another £250 sent down to him as they have had to wait 7 weeks until payday. I know he has spent some on food and drinks whilst out in Exeter but another problem is they get the weekend off so they want to go town for a change of scenery but then they end up having to get meals whilst out and about.
I’m part way through putting together a full list of things we have brought and took down for him and I need to get the list of him of things he has been told to buy.
Ive emailed the lady at CTCRM to find out from the TT’s what they will need on phase 2 and they just told her nothing required apart from map case and ziplock bags. It will be interesting to see if they get a list from the TT’s of kit they need to go buy once in phase 2
 
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