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Parents and guardians

Is a son, daughter or loved one thinking about joining the Army? We know it’s a big decision. That’s why we want you to have all the facts. By being well informed, you can help your child or loved one get an accurate picture of Army life. Then they’ll be able to decide if this is the right path for them.

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My parents are proud

There's no such thing as being too proud of your child - even if it's a bit embarrassing for them!

I've made myself proud

Our soldiers are proud to serve in the British Army, and take pride in everything they do.

Army colleges

If your son or daughter is considering joining the Army when they finish secondary school, the Army has two colleges for future soldiers and officers.

Army Foundation College, Harrogate, trains 16 and 17 year olds who want to join as a soldier in technical and non-technical trades. During their time at the college, Junior Soldiers learn what it is to be a soldier, start an apprenticeship, and continue to work on reaching educational standards in subjects like Maths, English and IT. Junior soldiers are paid, and once they pass out, they are old enough to join their units.

Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College takes sixth form students who are looking to join the Army as an officer for one of the technical trades, like engineering. One of the top colleges in the country, 90 Army places are awarded each year - funded by the MOD on a means-tested basis. Once finished, students may be offered a bursary (worth thousands of pounds) while they study at university, before joining as an officer.

Your questions answered

What does the Army do?

Today’s Army is a modern, highly-skilled force that tackles all kinds of missions, all over the world. Active in peace time as well as conflicts, we carry out humanitarian operations, help in emergencies, get involved in local communities and protect civilians in the UK and abroad.

Who can join?

We’re proud to be a diverse team with people from all sorts of backgrounds. Women are welcome and get the same training, pay, travel opportunities and promotions as men. There’s also provision for those with religious beliefs, with chaplains and places of worship for
Christian and non-Christian faiths.

How old do they need to be?

We take people to be regular soldiers from the age of 16. For officers, it’s between 18 and 30. For the Army Reserve, it’s 18 years old. 16 and 17 year olds are Junior Soldiers, and start out at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate.

Will they be sent to war?

Army personnel can be sent anywhere, at any time. Everyone who joins is a soldier first and foremost. However, not every soldier is posted to the front line. Many have support roles or are involved in humanitarian missions. Whatever the operation, you can be sure that all service men and women get the highest standard of training as well as the latest kit and equipment. This means they’re prepared for any situation and can accurately assess risks. On top of this, they have the support of loyal team mates and a world-class fighting force.

Will they be looked after?

At every stage of their Army career, your child or loved will one will have an expert support network to rely on. All new recruits –  especially young ones – get first-class pastoral care before they sign up, while they’re with the Army and when they decide to leave. There’s a highly effective Army Welfare Service in place, an information service (HIVES) and chaplains from most major denominations. Senior officers take great care of their units and regiments, plus there’s an incredible support amongst the soldiers who live and work with each other every day. The Army does its best to support families, organizing communications when serving personnel are away on operations.

Will they get any qualifications and a chance of a good career?

Your child or loved one won’t just learn to be a soldier. The Army has over 200 different roles, which means they’ll get to train in a trade or
profession – anything from Electrician to HR Specialist. Some 98% of soldiers complete an apprenticeship while they’re with us. In fact, we’re the UK’s biggest provider of apprenticeships. We offer over 500 qualifications in total, ranging from GCSEs to degrees, all of which are recognised by civilian employers. All Army training is first-class, plus we pay soldiers while they train and pay the costs associated with qualifications. All of this means your son, daughter or loved one will have an impressive CV when the time comes to leave the Army. Certain training and qualifications can even help them gain entry to certain universities. With skills such as discipline, motivation and teamwork too, every recruit has an exciting future ahead, within or outside the Army.

Pay and benefits

Soldiers are paid during training: over £285 a week. They then start on £18,488pa. That’s just over £355 a week, which is over £100 more than most admin roles and over £200 more than most retail jobs. It’s a steady salary that rises every year. Plus there are extra allowances for soldiers on operations. If you’re away from your base for longer than seven days, you get a daily allowance. If you’re on operations, you get a further daily allowance that’s paid as a lump sum at the end of your tour. Anyone who stays longer than the initial four years can earn a bonus of up to £7,500. And all this comes with a great pension plus subsidized food, travel and accommodation. There’s also free health and dental care available to all soldiers and officers both at home and on operations.

Do they get any time off?

Each year, your son, daughter or loved one will get 38 days’ paid holiday. They’ll also earn extra time off when they’re on operations. Most units will deploy for a six or seven-month period every three years. If they’re overseas, they’ll be flown back to the UK for two weeks mid-tour. They’ll also get more days off when the tour ends. These are all in addition to their annual allowance.

Will they fit in?

Most recruits say there’s nowhere like the Army when it comes to camaraderie and support. Right from day one, soldiers form strong
bonds that help them live and work together, in camps and on the battlefield. They trust each other with their lives, which takes incredible
faith and loyalty. Your child or loved one will make some amazing friends who may well become mates for life.

What's Army life like?

There’s no doubt that life in the Army can be tough. But it’s also an incredible experience that your child or loved one will never forget.
They’ll get a varied life that features worldwide travel – something the civilian world just can’t match. And with all kinds of sports and activities, from scuba diving to mountain trekking, there’s adventure at every turn. It also means your child or loved one will be fit, healthy and active – not stuck in the same role or a sedentary desk job.

What if they want to leave?

Remember – the Army isn’t forever. If  they decide that the Army is not right for them, they should talk to their Commanding Officer who will be able to advise them appropriately. They will need to be Discharged As Of Right  (DAOR).

When they decide to leave, we’ll do everything we can to help them find a job in the civilian world. They’ll already have great training and qualifications that will count with employers, plus we’ll help with job hunting and writing a CV. There are also initiatives such as the Career Transition Partnership, which help ex-service men and women re-settle after a stint in the Army.

Mother and son

Still got questions?

If you still have questions, there are loads of ways you can get in touch with us:

On our live chat service
Chat to us on Facebook or Twitter
Pop in to your local Army Careers Centre
Call us on 0345 600 8080

Contact us

Call us on 0345 600 8080

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