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The Army Reserve

Join the Army Reserve

With a commitment of as little as 19 days per year you can fit more adventure into your life in the Army Reserve.


About the Army Reserve

The Army Reserve is the largest of the Reserve Forces. The Army Reserve provides support to the Regular Army at home and overseas, and throughout its history almost every major operation has seen reservists operate alongside their Regular counterparts.

Army Reserve Soldiers come from all walks of life and work part-time as soldiers for the British Army alongside full-time Regular soldiers.

Regular Reservists are soldiers who have left the Regular army but are recalled in times of need to come back and join operations alongside Regular soldiers.


Rights and responsibilities for employers


What do the Army Reserves do?

The Army Reserve has two clearly defined roles. Firstly, it provides highly trained soldiers who can work alongside the Regulars on missions in the UK and overseas. Secondly, it gives people who have specialist skills, like medics and engineers, a range of exciting opportunities to use them in new ways.

Over the next few years the role of the Army Reserve will be expanded and they will work even more closely with the rest of the Army. This means that there will be more opportunities for people who want to enjoy the challenges that come with being a Reservist.

The Army Reserve Employers Guide 2023

Joining as a Reserve

Why join the Army Reserve

  • Travel: Opportunity to train in places like Kenya or California
  • Skills: Earn military and civilian qualifications
  • Pay: Get paid for all of the training and Reserve duties you complete
  • Benefits: Joiners financial incentives and the opportunity to earn a tax free bonus every year
  • Fitness: Be trained by the best and become "Army Fit" in no time

Your commitment

Depending on the unit you join, your minimum training commitment could be 19 or 27 days a year.

How you're rewarded

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% discount on rail travel throughout Great Britain for a whole year, helping to make off-duty travel more affordable.

Who can join

To join the Army Reserve you need to be 18. You can apply to join when you are 17 years and nine months old, so that you're ready to join on your 18th birthday.

Maximum ages for joining as a Reservists:

To join as a soldier, the upper age limit for enlistment is the day before the candidate's 43rd birthday.

To join as an officer, you must apply by the time you are 48 years and nine 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.

Local or national

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.