How to Join the British Army
Not everyone who joins the Army fights on the front-line, with over 140 different jobs from Bricklayer to Chef, if you're interested in joining the British Army, the odds are they'll have a trade that suits you.
Take your Pick
The British Army has over 140 different jobs from Infantry to Musician, there's a job for everyone, from all backgrounds and levels of experience, a lot of jobs don't even require any educational qualifications, however, other, more technical jobs may require anything from GCSE's to a degree of some kind.
Regular or Territorial
The regular army are the British Army's full-time soldiers and officers, as a regular you will be residential (you will live in top-notch, very low cost soldier accommodation), will work and train 5 days a week and are likely to be deployed on your first operational tour within 3 years. Typically, when joining as a regular soldier or "regular" you sign up to an initial 3 year contract.
You may or may not have heard of the Territorials, the Territorial Army is the British Army's reserve force and makes up almost a quarter of the Army's manpower, comprised of part-time soldiers who may also have other jobs or careers outside of the army, they do their training a few times a week at local TA units, are paid the same wage as regular soldiers and may be deployed, but deployment, generally speaking is voluntary for Territorials. Territorial Soldiers sign up for an initial 12 year contract but can hand in notice at any time if not currently deployed.
Pick Your Trade
There are seven sectors in the British Army and more than 140 jobs in all.
The sectors include:
- Combat (Show Combat jobs)
- Engineering (Show Engineering jobs)
- HR and Finance (Show HR and Finance jobs)
- Intelligence, IT and Communications (Show intelligence, IT and Communications jobs)
- Logistics and Support (Show Logistics and Support jobs)
- Medical (Show Medical jobs)
- Music and Ceremonial (Show Music and Ceremonial jobs)
Before even applying to join the British Army, you should first make sure that you reach the minimum age, physical and medical requirements to join.
- Age - The minimum age required for soldier application is 16, the maximum age is 32 and 11 months. Note that all under 18's require a parent's signature on the application form for consent.
- Physical - To join, you will need a good standard of fitness or you won't be able to pass the physical tests required for entry, especially if you're looking to join the combat sector. These physical tests are discussed in detail below.
- Medical - All soldiers need to be both fit and healthy, this is why there are certain medical conditions that will be an automatic bar from entering the army. A list of medical conditions that could potentially bar you from entry can be viewed here.
The Physical Tests
Typically, there are three tests for recruits looking to join as a soldier, these are:
- The Static Lift (this involves lifting a weighted bag to a height of 1.45m, the weight will vary depending on which unit you are looking to join)
- The Jerry can test (this involves carrying two 20kg water containers over a distance of between 60 and 150 metres depending on the job you are applying for and ideally needs to be completed in two minutes or less)
The final physical test is a mile and a half run which needs to be completed in under 14:00 for standard entry soldiers, 13:15 for standard entry into the Royal Artillery, Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Engineers, Household Cavalry and Logistic Combat Engineers aka 'Pioneers', 12:45 for recruits looking to join the Infantry and 9:40 for those looking to join the elite Parachute Regiment.
Applying and the Joining Process
The Joining Process
There are four steps in the process of joining the British army, these are:
- Initial Tests
- Final Tests
There is no longer any way to directly apply to become a soldier, all applicants are now required to fill out what's known as an "interest form" before they can actually apply, this form however can either be filled out online on the british army website, sent to you by post or picked up at your local TA centre. You are not comitted in any way to joining the army by filling out this form.
2. The Briefing
Initially, after having filled out the interest form, you will be invited to a briefing where you will meet your recruiter, "ACA" or "AFCA" (army careers adviser or armed forces careers adviser, the soldier or officer that will follow and help you throughout the entire joining process) and shown a DVD about army life after which you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the army.
At the end of this briefing you will be given an application form to join the army where you will be able to put down the job in particular you are interested in. Again, you are not committed in any way to joining the army by filling out the application form.
3. The Basic Tests
After the briefing you will be invited back to complete some basic tests and assessments to see which area of the army suits you best.
If you didn't meet the required standards however, you may be able to retake the tests, this will need to be discussed with your ACA or AFCA.
4. Final Tests
The final tests are taken place over two days at an ADSC (Army Development and Selection centre), these tests include fitness, health and team related assessments to attain your suitability for a career in the armed forces.
If you've made it this far, you are now a soldier in training.
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