Emergency Services and Military
Army servicemen and women choose from many different occupations. Whatever their duties, all soldiers train in combat skills.
New recruits enter the Army as privates. Most learn a trade: there are hundreds of different roles to choose from. All privates, whatever their trade, are trained in the skills they need for combat and will, at some time, work in battle areas.
There are seven career groups in the Army:
Combat soldiers must be ready to fight on the front line. They also help keep the peace in places where there is conflict, and make sure that aid gets where it is needed. Jobs include infantry soldier, tank crewman and gunner.
Engineering & Maintenance servicemen/women support the frontline forces. They make sure that the Army's equipment is kept in full working order. Jobs include electronics technician, welder and mechanic.
Transport & Logistics make sure that all branches of the Army have everything they need to operate effectively. They do this through transport and distribution network. Jobs include driver, air dispatcher and storeman/woman.
Intelligence, Communications and IT gather information about the enemy and pass it on to where it is needed. They also provide a link between soldiers out in the field and those back at base. Jobs include communication systems engineer, communications electrician and intelligence operative.
Human Resources (HR) and Finance and support provide the desk-based support that the Army needs to run effectively. This includes being responsible for salaries, welfare issues, paying suppliers and balancing the books. Jobs include HR administrator or military police soldier.
Medical branch looks after the health and well-being of the Army. They work wherever they are needed, whether at a military hospital or out in the field. Jobs include registered nurse, and combat medical technician.
Music and Ceremonial roles include musician or ceremonial gunner.
Hours of work for soldiers vary depending on operational requirements, but may include shifts, early starts, late finishes, weekend work and working on public holidays.
As a soldier, you may need to work at short notice, and you should expect to work longer hours during military exercises or on operational missions. This can mean extended periods spent away from home.
Army servicemen/women must be prepared to live and serve anywhere in the UK and overseas. They will sometimes have to work in difficult, dangerous (and sometimes life-threatening) conditions.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for army servicemen/women
- Excellent teamworking and communication skills
- Practical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- The ability to think and act quickly under pressure
- To be able to understand and follow instructions
Each trade has specific requirements in terms of personal qualities and skills. For some trades, your colour vision and/or hearing will be tested.
Pay And Opportunities
The rate of pay for a soldier on completion of training is around £14,750 per year. After this, pay rates vary, depending on specialism and length of service but can increase to £47,500. Pay increases further with promotion.
See the Army website for information on joining the army (https://army.mod.uk/join) and for routes in through an apprenticeship (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-forces-apprenticeships).
Qualifications and training required
There are no minimum educational requirements for entry as an Army Serviceman/woman. However, some jobs, such as military police and some medical and engineering roles where will need appropriate GCSEs (9-4) or National 5s or other relevant qualifications. You must
- Be aged between 18 and 33 years when you begin training. If you are under 18, you will need consent from your parents /guardian.
- Provide a GP's medical report and pass a full army medical
If you are under 17 year's old you can join the Army Cadet Force.
You can also serve in the Army Reserve, where you will serve at least 19 or 27 days (depending on your unit|) each year, plus attend a 2-week training camp each year.
Women serve in all Army corps/regiments, and from 2018 this will include the Infantry.
Before you enlist, you will have an interview at your local armed forces careers office in order to find out which jobs in the Army might be suitable for you. The next step is to attend a two-day selection course which includes an interview, a medical, a physical assessment and entrance tests.
Junior Soldiers (under 17 years) begin their Army career by either attending the Army Foundation College for 42 weeks, or the Army Technical Foundation College for 23 weeks.
Standard Entry (over 17) Infantry takes place at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC), Catterick, and Army Training Regiments (ATRs) at Pirbright and Winchester deliver basic training. Basic training includes weapon handling, drill, fieldcraft, health and safety, physical fitness and map reading.
Following basic training, you will train in a specific skill or trade. At an Army training school or college you will take recognised qualifications. Training varies from a few months to two years, depending on the trade you choose.
- The Army has the largest Apprenticeship programme in the country. For Level 2 apprenticeships there are no formal entry requirements, for Level 3 you require 5 subjects at National 5.
Training continues when you join your regiment/corps. You are likely to take further qualifications during your career.
There is a clear route of progression and promotion available to Army personnel.
Opportunities exist for senior non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) to become commissioned officers later in their careers.