Do soldiers get paid?
Yes. All soldiers get a wage that is closely linked to what they might be paid in civilian life. Extra allowances for things like going on operations or for doing certain types of job can help increase soldiers’ wage packets even further.
Where do soldiers live?
The Army makes accommodation available for all its soldiers. Many people live in one-person rooms with en-suite bathrooms. This is called Z-class accommodation and new blocks of it are being completed all the time. The soldiers all pay rent, but this is at a much reduced rate compared to civilian housing.
Where do soldiers eat?
When they’re based in barracks, soldiers have plenty of options. They can eat in one of the restaurants on the base or they can cook in one of the communal kitchens in their accommodation block. If soldiers live off the base in their own houses, they can eat on the base or cook for themselves.
What types of food are available?
Soldiers can eat exactly the same range of food as you get in civilian life. The restaurants on Army bases do everything from healthy options to occasional treats like chips and burgers. When soldiers are away from proper catering facilities, they eat from nutritionally balanced ration packs. There are many different types of these available, including halal, kosher and vegetarian.
Do all soldiers have to go on operations?
The chances are that anyone who joins the Army will have to go on operations at some point in their career. Soldiers work and train hard and the logical next step is that they put their skills to the ultimate test. They might need to use their soldiering or trade skills, but everyone will have a part to play.
Can you have Muslim Soldiers?
The Army has soldiers from all faiths and communities. There are Muslim soldiers as well as Jewish soldiers, Hindu soldiers and others from Britain and Commonwealth countries. The only thing that matters is that soldiers are prepared to work for each other and towards a common goal.
Can someone leave the Army if they want to?
Yes, but there are some restrictions.
If you’re under 18 when you join, you can leave by giving 14 days’ notice at any time after you’ve been in the Army for 28 days – provided this is within six months from the day you join.
People who are over 18 when they join have to give 14 days’ notice at any time after 28 days’ service to leave within three months after joining. Soldiers who are still doing their basic training can leave with their commanding officer’s permission.
What support is there for people who have left?
Soldiers who plan to leave the Army will complete a resettlement package which helps them readjust and develop the skills they need to find a job in civilian life. This includes everything from interview preparation to drawing up a CV. The qualifications that soldiers get in the Army are recognised by civilian employers and include things like NVQs and City & Guilds certificates, so they will have a head start in the job market. There are also many veterans’ groups and charities who can provide expert help to former soldiers who are experiencing longer-term problems with their return to civilian life.
Are soldiers allowed to come home?
All soldiers get a minimum of 38 days’ holiday each year. The Army calls this ‘leave’. In practice the annual leave allowance will be increased if a soldier goes on operations or for a range of other reasons. When soldiers aren’t on exercises or operations, they work a normal working day with regular hours. This leaves plenty of weekends and evenings free to see family and friends, no matter where they live. All the Army asks is that they’re available to work when they’re needed.
Can they keep in touch with friends and family?
People in the Army are actively encouraged to keep in touch. Most soldiers have mobile phones, which they’re allowed to use provided it doesn’t interfere with them doing their jobs. With many soldiers owning laptops, they’ll also have access to email facilities in their own rooms, or using computers in the communal areas at their barracks. It’s not quite so easy to stay in touch if a soldier is on operations, but there will be phones available on many bases and soldiers can send and receive mail.
What happens if a soldier gets injured?
It’s the job of the Army Medical Services to keep soldiers fit, healthy and able to do their jobs. If a soldier receives a lasting injury which means they’re unable to carry out their duties, then they may have to leave the Army. Depending on the circumstances of the injury and a range of other factors, there may be some financial compensation available.
Do soldiers get a pension?
Yes. After just two years’ service, soldiers earn an Army pension that will be paid to them when they reach 65. If soldiers serve for 12 years they receive a tax-free resettlement grant when they retire. Anybody over 40 who has done at least 18 years in the Army gets an immediate pension, a tax-free lump sum and a second lump sum when they get to 65.