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Join as a soldier

As a soldier, you’ll do a vital job, making sure the Army operates smoothly and effectively, at home and overseas.

It takes lots of different trades to run the Army, there are many jobs to choose from, all with training of the highest standard. Your hard work will be rewarded, because to us, you’re more than an employee - you’re a valued member of the Army family.


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Who are soldiers?

Men and women just like you who want to do something different. There are hundreds of different jobs to choose from, and soldiers are trained with skills that they can use both in and out of the Army. They learn military skills, get qualifications and develop personally as well.

Apprentice Chef in the Army


The Army has the largest apprenticeship programme in the country, with about 95 per cent of new soldiers taking part and over 8,000 completing their apprenticeship training each year. Army apprenticeships are part of a nationally recognised scheme, giving soldiers the chance to work for an employer at the same time as studying for a relevant, work-based qualification.


Soldier roles

There are hundreds of roles in the Army to choose from when you join. Soldiers in the Army have a trade and get fully trained, with skills that count in the civilian world too.

Junior soldiers

If you're 16 or 17, you'll train you to become a soldier at Army Foundation College Harrogate.

You need to be between 16 and 33 to join the Regular Army, and 18 and 43 for the Army Reserve.

About training

Life at Phase 1 training

Find out what happens when you leave your civilian life behind to become a soldier. Hear from recruits and instructors about how you can prepare.

Classroom in phase 1

Phase 1 training

All soldiers complete an initial military skills course known as Phase 1 training. You’ll learn soldiering skills such as how to fire a weapon and how to look after yourself when you’re living outdoors. You’ll also work on your fitness. This will take place at Catterick, Pirbright, Winchester or Harrogate.

Looking at an engine

The Army Reserve

Army Reserve soldiers get to enjoy the same high level of training as their regular colleagues. With opportunities to travel and train that fit around your day job  - you'll be paid for the time you spend and gain skills and qualifications that will help you in your every day life too.

FAQs - Soldiers

How fit do I need to be for phase 1 (basic) training?

You don’t have to be super fit to become a soldier. However, you do need a basic level of fitness to pass the selection stage. The Army Fit app and exercise plans will help you prepare.

How long does phase 1 (basic) training last?

Phase 1 lasts for 14 weeks unless you’re under 17 where you would attend the Army Foundation College, Harrogate. If you join the Infantry your Phase 1 and Phase 2 training is combined in a 28-week soldier training course. (30 weeks for Para and Guards).

How long does phase 2 (specialist) training last?

The length of your course depends on the job you do. Some roles can be learned in a few months. Others might take more than a year to master.

How do I apply to AFC Harrogate

To apply to AFC Harrogate you can use our normal Army application form, which you'll find it in My Account (you'll need to create an account to access this part of the site). Or if you'd like to talk to someone face to face about your options, visit your local Army Careers Centre.

How old do I have to be to join the Army?

You need to be 16 to join the Army as a soldier, although you can start the application process earlier, with your parents' permission. To become an officer you need to be 18, although you can apply for sixth form and university sponsorship before you reach this age. To join the Army Reserve you need to be 18.

Do you need GCSEs to join the Army?

To join the Army as a soldier you don't normally need GCSEs. There are a few exceptions though, for example, you may need GCSEs for some technical roles. For all roles in the Army, you'll need to pass the Army entrance tests.

How long do I sign up for?

When you become a soldier you sign up for at least four years including the time you spend training.

How much does a soldier earn?

Regular soldiers are paid as soon as they start their Phase 1 training. They earn at least £18,488 a year when they finish training and move on to their unit. How much you get will depend on which Army job you do. Some specialist roles receive extra pay. Your salary will increase annually as your career continues, regardless of promotion and extra responsibilities. Within five years you could reach the rank of Corporal which starts at £29,768.

Can I join as a soldier and work my way up to officer?

Yes, many Officers start their Army life as a soldier before being commissioned.

Contact us

Call us on 0345 600 8080

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