How old do I have to be to join the Army Reserve?
To join the Army Reserve you need to be 18. You can apply to join when you are 17 years and 9 months old, so that you're ready to join on your 18th birthday.
Maximum ages for joining the Reservists:
To join as a soldier, you must apply by the time you are 49 years and 11 months. You must start Phase 1 training by your 51st birthday, and be in Phase 2 by your 52nd birthday
To join as an officer, you must apply by the time you are 48 years and 9 months. You must start your training by your 50th birthday
Rejoiners can still join as a soldier until their 52nd birthday, and as an officer (if they have previously commissioned) until their 57th birthday.
Do Reservists get paid?
As a Reservist you get paid for the time you spend training, and a bonus payment for completing a certain amount of training days each year. The pay scale that you’ll be on is based on what a Regular soldier with the same job and rank would get. This increases as you get promoted and gain experience.
Depending on the unit you join, your minimum training commitment could be 19 or 27 days a year - rewarded with a tax-free lump sum called a bounty. This increases after each year of service. As well as the bounty, there are also subsidies that will pay for food while you're on duty and travel to the unit.
In addition, all volunteer reserves, their partners and their children are now eligible for the HM Forces Railcard. This costs £15 and offers a 34 per cent discount on rail travel throughout Great Britain for a whole year, helping to make off-duty travel more affordable.
Are there any financial incentives?
Incentive payments for ex-Regulars
As an ex-Regular you can get up to £10,000 on top of the tax-free bounty (paid on meeting your minimum annual commitment) and your Army Reserve salary.
You could get:
To be eligible you must meet these conditions:
- £2,000 on approval by the CO of your Army Reserve unit
- £3,000 after completing your first year full training commitment
- £3,000 after completing your second year full training commitment
- £2,000 after completing your third year full training commitment
Incentive payments for new entrants
- You must have completed at least four years Regular service with the rank of Captain or below
- You must join the Army Reserve after 1st January 2014
- You must have left the Regular Army no more than six years before enlisting in the Army Reserve
- You must have applied for and be capable of employment in a post approved by an Army Reserve unit CO
- You must be Medically Fully Deployable (MFD) or Medically Limited Deployable (MLD)
You will get these extra payments on top of your tax-free bounty (paid on meeting your annual minimum commitment) and your Army Reserve salary:
- £300 when you’re accepted on to training
- £1,000 when you complete your Phase 1 training
- £1,000 when you complete your Phase 2 training
What is the time commitment for being a Reservist?
Depending on the unit you join, your minimum training commitment could be 19 or 27 days a year.
Will I be expected to deploy?
Yes, anyone joining the Army Reserve could be called out to serve on operations, in UK or abroad, for anything up to 12 months.
Can I join as an officer?
Being a Reservist Officer means that you complete your training and military duties in your spare time. It makes it possible to gain many of the advantages of Army life and combine them with your civilian responsibilities and career. Initial Officer training consists of a series of modules to develop your military leadership and skills. Module 1 consists of 6 weekends at an Officer Training Regiment, followed by Module 2 which is delivered either over 10 weekends or a consolidated course. Module 3 brings these new skills together in a concentrated 9-day field exercise which prepares you for Officer Training at Sandhurst. Module 4 is a 3-week course at Sandhurst. Alternatively you can do an 8 week consolidated course covering all 4 modules.
Local or national unit?
The Army Reserve is organised into national units and regional units. Regional units recruit from their local area, and most people who join the Army Reserve will join one. But some will join a national unit.
What are national units?
There are 29 national reserve units, and they recruit from all over the UK. National units are more specialised than regional units, they recruit people with specialist skills but will, in some cases, train individuals from scratch. If you want to use the skills from your day job in the Army Reserve – whether you’re a police officer, doctor, engineer, chef, media relations expert or cyber security specialist – a national unit could be the place for you.
The chance to use and develop your professional skills in a different environment. You can use your experience later on in your Reserve career. You’ll also get the same great benefits as you would with a regional unit.
How many days each year?
You’ll normally do two weekends and 15 days of continuous training each year. Training takes place at your unit’s headquarters or other training centre, which might be some distance from where you live. Because of that, the annual training commitment is less than Army Reserve regional units (19 days instead of 27). Your travel expenses will be paid, too.
National Units 1/3
- Military Provost Staff (MPS) Specialists in custody and detention.
- Central Volunteer HQ, Royal Artillery (CVHQ RA) Providing all arms staff officers for formation HQs, specialist gunnery support as Instructors, Naval Gunfire Liaison Officers (NGLO), Forward Air Controllers (FAC).
- Land Information Assurance Group (LIAG) Providing information assurance and IT security skills to protect UK sensitive military information.
- 254 (Specialist Group Information Services) Signals Squadron Providing expertise in computer, software and network operations to assure the passage of information between deployed commanders in a theatre of operations, Permanent Joint HQ and other HQs.
- 81 Signals Squadron Royals Signals information technicians
- Joint Cyber Unit (JCU) Combat cyber attack on MOD assets.
- 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group Delivering an operational infrastructure engineering service to Defence and Other Government Departments.
- Media Operations Group (MOG) Providing journalists and photographers to the Army within the UK and on operations.
- 167 Catering Support Regt Royal Logistic Corps Chefs required to support exercises and operations; training can be provided.
- 2 Operational Staff Group (2 OSG) Staff group to support logistic brigades.
National units 2/3
National units 3/3
Will being a Reservist affect my day job?
Joining the Army as a Reservist won’t put your job at risk. There is a legal requirement to tell your employer, so make sure that you do. It’s also a good idea to do it in plenty of time. That way, if you need to take time off, you can give them plenty of warning and they can arrange to cover your absence.
Can I leave?
As a Reservist, you can leave at any time you want, unless you've been mobilised. You can leave just after you've joined, during training or even if you've already joined your unit. If you decide at any point that the Army isn't for you, or your life changes and you can no longer give it as much time, all you need to do is tell your superiors. They'll check that you really do want to leave and explain the procedure to you.