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Soldier recruitment

SPS personnel are soldiers first and serve alongside and administer every unit in the British Army. People are the Army's most important resource, and we are people orientated.

SPS soldiers are invariably bright, numerically competent and mentally agile. You must have a willingness to learn, work well within a small team, enjoy responsibility as well as be able to take the lead when required. You must be physically robust, mature and able to adapt to the varied roles within the SPS Branch.

Life as a Combat HR Specialist

In addition to your specialist professional and technical training, Combat HR Specialists undertake the same basic military training as everyone else in the Army. On completion of your training, you will be assigned to a unit where you will work as part of a team, providing support to up to 700 officers and soldiers, wherever they may be located around the world.

Every unit in the Army needs the support provided by SPS personnel, from front line Battalions, through to NATO Headquarters. It is essential that officers and soldiers are administered wherever they serve and you will have the opportunity to travel and work overseas, on operations and exercises around the world. The majority of assignments are for 2 years and so you will always be faced with new challenges.

The wide variety of assignments available to an SPS soldier is just one of the benefits of joining the SPS Branch and is almost unrivalled throughout the Army. You can serve in major Army or Tri-Service Headquarters as a Personal Assistant or a Management Accountant and also in Embassies, Foreign Commonwealth Offices or with Special Forces.

You may attempt P Company or the All Arms Commando Course if serving alongside certain units. There are also opportunities to work with Army recruiting and as an instructor at Phase 1 or Phase 2 training. In Afghanistan we have recently conducted various roles such as 'Female Engagement Team Patrol Search Instructor' and 'Mentoring the Afghan National Army'.

Direct entry into SPS

As a Combat HR Specialist you will be expected to have a good level of secondary education, with particular emphasis in written and verbal communication skills. Candidates must have GCSEs (or equivalent) in English Language and Mathematics in Grade D. Vocational Qualifications such as an NVQ in Business Administration will also be considered.

You must also achieve a GTI score of 50. You must be medically fit and you must not have a current driving ban.

What next

The AGC run one week 'Look at Life' courses in Worthy Down which are held throughout the year. They are free to attend and will give you an insight into Army life to help you decide that the Army and indeed the AGC are for you. If you are interested in attending one of these you should contact your nearest Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) who will then process your application.

The Army also offers a Further Education Award to anyone aged between 16 and 32 years who is going into Further Education at any college or sixth form to study A Levels, a full Level 2 or Level 3 vocational course. You get £1,000 for each year you spend at college or in the sixth form, for up to 4 years. For more information you should contact your nearest AFCO who will then put you in touch with the Careers Advisor for your area.

If you do decide to apply to join and are successful, after successfully passing the Army Development Selection Centre all AGC soldiers complete basic training at either the Army Technical Foundation College Winchester or the Army Training Centre Pirbright.

The Service Initial Personnel Administration Course takes place at Worthy Down Winchester and is 15 weeks of specialist Phase 2 training. You will receive comprehensive training in all aspects of military administration, personnel management and finance as well as general secretarial, clerical and office duties. You will also be trained to operate the Army's Information Systems and be taught to drive.

Career prospects, pay and promotion

Once you have completed your training, you will be assigned to a unit as a Combat HR Specialist. From earning £14,492 at the start of Phase 1 training, rising to £17,945 at the end of Phase 2 training, promotion prospects within the AGC(SPS) are excellent.

Promotion to Lance Corporal is achievable after 18 months, subject to recommendation and selection where you would earn a salary of £24,666.After 24 months as a Lance Corporal you will be eligible for promotion to Corporal with a salary of £28,270.

From here there is a clearly defined path to the rank of Warrant Officer and opportunities exist to become an Army Officer for those who demonstrate the leadership and personal qualities required. You will have plenty of chances to attend various courses and to gain extra qualifications as your career progresses.

Civilian qualifications and accreditation

The AGC(SPS) Whole Life Development Strategy provides the opportunity to gain nationally recognized civilian qualifications through accreditation of military education and experience. Combat HR Specialists are given the opportunity to experience a challenging, rewarding and progressive full military career with civilian accreditation through the Institute of Administrative Management.

On completion of the Service Initial Personnel Administration Course soldiers receive the Introductory Award in Administrative Management (Key Skills Level 2 qualification) and the Information Technology Qualification.

Other civilian accredited qualification opportunities include

  • Accountancy qualifications such as the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Progressive levels of membership in the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
  • A Foundation Degree in Business (FdA Business) - Level 5 through Southampton Solent University
  • The Short University Course Programme - including Personnel and Management Studies and Information Technology
  • Certificate in Education Qualification

Summary - 'Make the world your office'

As a Combat HR Specialist you have a highly important role within the Army. Administration is a key enabler to ensure the smooth running of each and every aspect of the military environment. It maximizes a soldier's performance, often on operations in dangerous and austere conditions, without being distracted by personal or family administrative issues.

SPS Branch is characterised by its true professionalism, a clear sense of purpose, by an intelligent and positive approach to the delivery of administrative capability, by the energy and pace by which we achieve early resolution of the challenges which lie in our way and by the 'Soldier First' ethos that pervades everything that we do.

Not just another day in the office

"From the day you complete Phase 2 training and specialise as a Combat HR Specialist you will have an absolutely essential role. You make a difference from day one and can see the benefits of helping people immediately.

"What you put in is what you get out and if you want extra responsibility and an opportunity to specialise in many different HR roles, it's there for the taking.

"You also get to manage your own workload whilst still working as part of a close knit team. I am now in my 13th year of Army service and I love my job." Sgt Pippa Henderson, AGC(SPS) Transferee, AGC Recruiting and Liaison Staff.