Advice on route into Army

Hi guys,

I am looking to get a bit of advice around the different options in the army and what would suit me best. I am currently studying towards a degree in business management whilst working full time for an IT company (in a business focused role, not technical, so I dont have any transferrable IT skills as such).

I've always had an interest in joining the military, but have never really considered going for it until the past two years. I think when I was younger I was far more motivated by money, and glorified civvy roles in the city. As I've got a bit older, my motivtions have changed and I have a more realistic idea of what certain civilian jobs entail. I am a very active person and have a real interest in international relations, current affairs and warfare. I hate the thought of a 9-5 office job, and am drawn to the adventure and variation that the military can offer. Money is no longer my main driver.

I have always been quite academic, and have got fairly good grades. I wasn't the best behaved at school/college, but have sorted this out now and dont imagine i'd have any discipline issues if i were to join up. When I graduate in 2014 I will be 20 and will have an FdA in Management Studies, a BA (Hons) in Business Management and 3 years of work experience. My A-Level grades were ABB.

Whilst I am very keen to join the army, I am not sure which branch I would be best suited to. I am sure that i do not want to go in a primarily combat focused role. Whilst i appreciate everyone is a soldier first, and all roles could require you to be in a combat situation, I do not want to be an infantry/combat solider as my primary function (if that makes sense).

I think the most suited areas for me would be intelligence or signals. There is a fair bit in the public domain about signals, but it seems that the work of intelligence is fairly well guarded. I have read all the army collateral and researched forums, but it seems that not much can be said about intelligence work due to its secretive nature. What would the best way to get a better flavour of intelligence work? Is there any opportunity to visit intelligence corps, or are there any good books etc?

Do you think my experience would give me a good chance of getting into the army as an officer? Also, is there any way you can get a confirmed place in a corps before you attend Sandhurst? If not, is it up to the army to put you in a corps after you comission i.e could you end up in any one?

Thinking long term, I am interested finding a role in government or the defence sector after I leave the military. I have always been very keen on joining the a government agency such as MI5 and working in national security. I also like the idea of working for government in a defence related post, or for a private defence firm. From your experience, are these the sort of areas that ex military officers could pursue?

I would appreciate any advice on what the signals and intelligence can offer, and what type of people you find suit them best? I'd also be interested to see if you think about my motivations and whether I would stand a chance of making it as an officer with my quals/experience.

Cheers :smile:
Thought the recruiting was farmed out to Indian contractors now? :?
Do they not have recruitment offices anymore?
Yes they do - but my local one is only open on the weekdays, and I am not able to get time off work to visit.

I also wanted to get the views of guys that had done the job and had experience. I'm not sure how the careers office works but I would assume they don't have members of all the different brances?


Kit Reviewer

Get yourself on a couple of Familirisation Visits and see if you like them. You have to have a sponsor before you go to Sandhurst and get 2 Choices (3 from memory if your sponsor is the Army Air Corps or Intelligence Corps) so you will have to see them first.

How old are you? Because going in as an Officer it matters.
Cheers for the advice, I didn't realise they ran familiarisation visits. Will make sure to get myself on one.

In terms of getting a sponsor, i assume that would carry it's own set of interviews/tests with the specific corps, who would then decide whether to sponsor you through Sandhurst?

I'll be 20 when I graduate next year, but am planning to go travelling for 1-2 years. So if/when I join up i'd be about 22.
Yes they do fam visits, but you'd usually kick these off by visiting the careers office.

You could get the information on the regimental recruiting office and write to them direct, but the visit would require you to go there, probably in the week.

As for the long term stuff, it depends on how long you stay in, what skills you acquire and then what you want to look at. I've know people to leave as officers and go into other Government agencies, but for some the relative pay is important (fact of life, many have a family after a few years in the Army). Generally speaking, you get to a point where looking at MI5 from Officer means a slight droip in pay, but it depends on the job. Civvi wise, you'll see jobs advertised from £20k a year up to silly money, again, depending on your skills, what the job wants you to do and of importance to the civvi firm, how much of your military knowledge they can bleed out of you - how well do you know the processes, procedures, equipment, people (for networking). Because of this, many officers leave and go into civvi defence firms once they have done a couple of staff jobs, but again, it all depends on when you leave and what you want to do. A stereotypical move is from officer to banking, as apparently the values instilled by the army are of use in the financial sector.

Good luck.
My ACA told me that the Intelligence Corps only offers familiarization visits to people who have passed the Main Board, as demand for visits is very high for such a small corps. I got similar grades to you at A-level, and I was told that my grades were fine for IC, so yours should be ok too.

Good luck.
Ah - the Count is probably right. I believe Army Air Corps are doing the same. Cut backs are such that over subscribed Regiments seem to only offer visits to those who've passed AOSB. I don't know what the system is now then for being sponsored to the Board (and subsequently to RMAS). In my day (and after), you "signed up" with a cap badge, they took you under their wing, guided you to RCB (as it then was) and after passing, to RMAS. It always seemed a bit strange, as the affiliation meant nothing once you crossed the threshold at Sandbags. For example, I was sponsored REME, but selected RA at RMAS.


For the OP: have a look at the Int Corps forum in 'Arms and Services' - there's quite a bit of useful Corps specific recruiting information and background there. The rule on familiarisation visits now is that each candidate is only funded for 2 in total, and these aren't really worth wasting before you do AOSB Briefing at least. The term 'sponsor' is being dropped and you do not need a regimental sponsor before you go to RMAS: that role is taken on by the National Recruiting Centre at Upavon which will guide candidates through the process. In reality, of course, savvy candidates who fit the right profile will continue to be tacitly sponsored by the regiments and/or corps they want to go to.

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