Army Soldier

    If you are wondering how to become a soldier in the army, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of the armed forces and home security, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Army soldiers carry out a wide range of military duties, take part in exercises and operations, and have a skill or trade essential to the army.

    The army plays an important part in NATO and UN operations all over the world. Many overseas operations nowadays involve peacekeeping and humanitarian duties.

    The army consists of regiments and corps, divided into:

    Combat Arms – troops directly involved in fighting (the cavalry, armoured corps, air corps and infantry)
    Combat Support Arms – provide support to the Combat Arms (artillery, engineering, IT and communications, logistics, and healthcare).
    Within both Arms and Support Arms there is a wide range of job roles. The army will provides qualifications and financial support (a salary or bursary) to recruits interested in all kinds of jobs, from carpenter or electrician to nurse or dental technician.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good army soldiers include:

    self-discipline, confidence and initiative
    good teamworking skills
    the ability to think and react quickly in rapidly changing situations
    good communication skills
    good fitness levels
    a willingness to be involved in combat
    the ability to take orders from others
    practical and technical skills appropriate to the regiment or corps you wish to join.

    How to become an army soldier
    To join the army, you must be aged between 16 and 33 on the day you enlist (if you are under 18, you will need consent from a parent or guardian). You must also meet the army nationality requirements (check the British Army website for details).

    You do not need formal qualifications for many army jobs, although you may need some academic qualifications for certain roles. Check the British Army website to find the exact entry requirements for the jobs that you are interested in.

    To help you decide which army career route to take, you can discuss your options in detail with your local Armed Forces Careers Office or Army Careers Office. You would start by taking the Army Entrance Test (also known as BARB), which tries to match you with the jobs that are best suited to your skills.

    You would then spend two days at your nearest Army Development and Selection Centre, where you can talk to recruits in training and find out more about army life. You will be interviewed and take a series of physical and mental tests, and you must also pass a full army medical.

    If you get through the selection tests, you return to the Army Careers Office to sign your army contract, and go on to Phase One Training. If you enlist under the age of 18, your contract lasts until the day before your 22nd birthday. Over 18, your contract is four years and three months. You can leave any time after this point, as long as you give 12 months’ notice. Please check the British Army website for full details.

    You may be able to join the army through a trade apprenticeship scheme, if you are under 25 with GCSEs (A-C) including maths and English (and possibly some other subjects). If you are aged 16 to 17 years one month, you could also apply for the 42-week school leavers’ course at the Army Foundation College (AFC).

    Training and Development
    As a new recruit, whatever your chosen army job, you will take part in a 12- or 14-week Phase One training programme, often referred to as ‘basic training’. This involves:

    developing drill skills, map reading, first aid and rifle handling
    field craft and night training, including camouflage techniques
    target practice and live firing
    fitness tests and adventure training.
    When you have completed Phase One, you will have a ‘Passing Out’ parade and move on to your chosen regiment or corps to begin Phase Two specialist training.

    Your Phase Two training will vary in length depending on your chosen job role. For example, infantry training takes a further 14 weeks, while other jobs and regiments could involve anything from two months’ to two years’ training. Your training will often include the chance to work towards relevant qualifications for your trade, such as NVQs, City & Guilds diplomas, degrees or driving qualifications.

    You will also receive regular training throughout your career, to develop your skills and prepare you for promotion through the ranks.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    New recruits in training start on £12,572 a year.
    Privates earn between £15,677 and £17,993, rising to £18,963 on promotion to Lance Corporal.
    Higher ranks can earn up to £35,564 a year.

    Job Prospects
    You could serve up to 22 years in the army. You would progress through the ranks from Private to Lance Corporal, Corporal, Staff Sergeant or Colour Sergeant, Warrant Officer Class 2 and Warrant Officer Class 1. You may also be able to earn promotion from non-commissioned officer (NCO) to officer training.

    There is a constant need for new recruits, so suitable candidates are always in demand. Contact your local Army Careers Office for more information and advice.

    Useful security or armed forces resources:
    Army Recruiting and Training Division
    Trenchard Lines
    SN9 6BE
    Tel: 01980 615041

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