Age 32, want to join the forces and get a degree.

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Now I know this is pushing the boundaries, but hear me out. I started an BSc in Electrical Systems Engineering about 10 years ago. It wasnt for me. I dropped out and went to Africa where I started a commercial diving business.

The business has been fun and interesting; but in pounds the money is not good, it has no real pension, I'm not travelling like I thought I would be - and most importantly I'm not doing what I really want; which is to get an English Literature degree and go into journalism and/or writing.

So my question is - how realistic an option is it to join the forces and get an 'artsy' degree like this at the same time? I understand the Open University is very accommodating and there is financial assistance provided by the forces.

From what I see, I can join the Royal Marines up to age 33 - and it's a nice idea to have that beret. But I'm not sure if the Marines are the best route in terms of being able to study at the same time. Basically I'm looking for the path which gives me most prospects in terms of a decent military career but which also allows the ability to study successfully.

Might infantry, paras or some other route be a better option? Any advice, knowledge or practical experience on the matter would be most welcome.
 
This has got to be one of the oddest threads ever and that's me being kind. However, taking it at face value join a Corps such as AGC(SPS) you're more likely, but not exclusively, to have more time on your hands to study. Teeth arm? Forget it. As for the rest, you're on your own pal.
 
Get a part time job in Mackie D's and go to Uni as a mature student ..the mob don't need users like you.
So people should only be accepted if they join for queen and country?

What about the Gurkhas and commonwealth soldiers who are essentially mercenaries?

It really doesn't matter a persons reason fir joining provided they do their duty.

I've a good friend who joined just for cash prior to going to uni, he intended taking the option to leave during basic, 25 years later he's an LE Capt.
 
So people should only be accepted if they join for queen and country?

What about the Gurkhas and commonwealth soldiers who are essentially mercenaries?

It really doesn't matter a persons reason fir joining provided they do their duty.

I've a good friend who joined just for cash prior to going to uni, he intended taking the option to leave during basic, 25 years later he's an LE Capt.
I haven't said that have I?... and as for the Q & C bit, i don't know too many who did either, i know that i didn't ,but the OP is pretty blatant in his reasons and none of it sounds like anything to do with wanting to belong to an organisation or work with others?

Like you say, people can join up for whatever reason they want but at his age, you'd have thought that he would had disguised it a bit better.


still reckon that it's half a wah
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Nothing wrong with joining for the chance to improve yourself while being paid. There are plenty of opportunities to learn but you'll need to make the time and contribute some dosh. As said above, join anything that'll take you and get out of it whatever you can. Just do your job and don't be a twat and you'll do just fine.
 
So people should only be accepted if they join for queen and country?

What about the Gurkhas and commonwealth soldiers who are essentially mercenaries?

It really doesn't matter a persons reason fir joining provided they do their duty.

I've a good friend who joined just for cash prior to going to uni, he intended taking the option to leave during basic, 25 years later he's an LE Capt.
Agree, many of my contemporaries joined as a means of dropping out.
The Q+C or duty part of it morphed on later.
They made good soldiers.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Get a part time job in Mackie D's and go to Uni as a mature student ..the mob don't need users like you.
Thanks for nothing, **** face. Yes, like most people I'm interested in joining to see what the forces can do for me, not the other way round. I am happy to serve but also wanna maximise what I get in return. Why anyone would have a problem with that is beyond me. @dingerr, you put it absolutely perfectly, thanks.

This has got to be one of the oddest threads ever and that's me being kind. However, taking it at face value join a Corps such as AGC(SPS) you're more likely, but not exclusively, to have more time on your hands to study. Teeth arm? Forget it. As for the rest, you're on your own pal.
Thank you very much, that is good info and exactly the sort of advice I am looking for. So basically with the 'teeth arm' units, there would be no time for study, or is it that the environment just isn't conducive to it? I've read about one or two RMs getting degrees by studying while their mates are out on the piss, but it seems easier for officers, who have a private room they can get a bit of peace and quiet in.
 
Thanks for nothing, **** face. Yes, like most people I'm interested in joining to see what the forces can do for me, not the other way round. I am happy to serve but also wanna maximise what I get in return. Why anyone would have a problem with that is beyond me. @dingerr, you put it absolutely perfectly, thanks.



Thank you very much, that is good info and exactly the sort of advice I am looking for. So basically with the 'teeth arm' units, there would be no time for study, or is it that the environment just isn't conducive to it? I've read about one or two RMs getting degrees by studying while their mates are out on the piss, but it seems easier for officers, who have a private room they can get a bit of peace and quiet in.
Careful, he is 6'13" and 27 stone you know.
 
Thanks for nothing, **** face. Yes, like most people I'm interested in joining to see what the forces can do for me, not the other way round. I am happy to serve but also wanna maximise what I get in return. Why anyone would have a problem with that is beyond me. @dingerr, you put it absolutely perfectly, thanks.



Thank you very much, that is good info and exactly the sort of advice I am looking for. So basically with the 'teeth arm' units, there would be no time for study, or is it that the environment just isn't conducive to it? I've read about one or two RMs getting degrees by studying while their mates are out on the piss, but it seems easier for officers, who have a private room they can get a bit of peace and quiet in.
There are several issues to consider. Firstly, most people do not join the military to see what the forces can do for them, it's the other way round with a little bit of, 'and if I can get a trade thrown in' as well. Then again most people who join are in their teens or early twenties which puts you as an outlier with a peculiar set of requirements that don't fit the mould. If you go into a careers office with the attitude of what can you do for me you'll likely be shown the door in swift order. It's just not how the military mindset works.

Onto your age, you're right up against it. People do join the military at a late age but it's usually because they have an itch they can't scratch and common reasons are along the lines of' 'It's my last chance to do something worthwhile,' and so on. Not, 'So I can get an education.' This is more important than you think. Military training, by its very nature, is physically and mentally challenging and if all you've got to rely as your primary driver for being a soldier is a literature degree so you can go into journalism you are extremely unlikely to go the distance. I've seen this happen numerous times. That said I've met a classically trained musician who joined up at the age of 32 as an infantryman but his motivations were poles apart from yours.

Forget the infantry, RM or Para Reg, going by the tone of your opening post your mindset isn't right. Whilst an organisation like the SPS may have more opportunity for study they are at the other end of the spectrum to inf and are unlikely to fulfil you from a military career perspective. Choose wisely and you may be able to make it work but it will not be straightforward.
 
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Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
I believe also, but may be out of date, that the stipulation is 32 at the entry to basic stage and given the Capita horror stories on some of the other threads, this may be cutting it fine if you're 32 already.

Not mentioned by @Forastero but equally relevant, RM basic is something like 32 weeks long and you're not going to get much free time.
 
Going out on the piss is a great way to develop bonds and unit cohesion within a unit for better or for worse. Being an older recruit is a handicap on its own because the mentality of a young squadie is generally more fixated on being a fighting man, not a bookworm (talking fighting arms). Nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, the army needs more of that, but picking a trade based on what study time will be available is a bit much. To the typical teen-early 20'sh soldier you will be an old man and will have to earn their trust because you will need their help at one point, and sitting in the barracks reading not immersed in their tribal culture will not endure you to them.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
There are several issues to consider. Firstly, most people do not join the military to see what the forces can do for them, it's the other way round with a little bit of, 'and if I can get a trade thrown in' as well. Then again most people who join are in their teens or early twenties which puts you as an outlier with a peculiar set of requirements that don't fit the mould. If you go into a careers office with the attitude of what can you do for me you'll likely be shown the door in swift order. It's just not how the military mindset works.

Onto your age, you're right up against it. People do join the military at a late age but it's usually because they have an itch they can't scratch and common reasons are along the lines of' 'It's my last chance to do something worthwhile,' and so on. Not, 'So I can get an education.' This is more important than you think. Military training, by its very nature, is physically and mentally challenging and if all you've got to rely as your primary driver for being a soldier is a literature degree so you can go into journalism you are extremely unlikely to go the distance. I've seen this happen numerous times. That said I've met a classically trained musician who joined up at the age of 32 as an infantryman but his motivations were poles apart from yours.

Forget the infantry, RM or Para Reg, going by the tone of your opening post your mindset isn't right. Whilst an organisation like the SPS may have more opportunity for study they are at the other end of the spectrum to inf and are unlikely to fulfil you from a military career perspective. Choose wisely and you may be able to make it work but it will not be straightforward.
Of course. I'm not pitching to a recruitment officer here. Just trying to get info on what might and might not work with regards to furthering myself should I go this route. It's not just the degree I'm after - I've always had a keen interest in the military and support Britain's interests. I do feel that as an fit, experienced and highly qualified commercial diver I have a lot to offer.

Aside from the degree - and actually first and foremost - I want to join the forces because I like the idea of better physical and mental discipline, better interpersonal skills and experience working as part of a large team. I've never been part of a corporate anything, but I see the good it does people (but being a pure desk jockey just doesn't sit well with me, haha). I also want to learn new skills and travel. This is much why I took up commercial diving in the first place, but it turns out I'm just staying in the same place with a very small group of people and stagnating. My personal discipline is slipping and I feel I would really benefit and be of benefit by being part of a larger, structured organisation. I *want* those physical and mental challenges you're talking about. I think for that reason that, yes, you are quite right about the SPS not being suitable. So the degree is simply an addition to these factors.

Before I even considered studying in the forces I was making enquiries for these reasons above. I even looked quite seriously (for a couple of seconds.....!) at joining the French Foreign Legion before realising that they aren't the romantic group of mercenaries they are commonly made out to be, just an extension of the French military - with crappy pay and benefits to boot. I would far rather serve the UK.

Onto the degree - and I can see why making that the focus of my initial post perhaps set the tone poorly - I think that serving in itself would help give me the time management and discipline I need to study. Provided of course that the time and means to study does exist while serving; which is really what I'm trying to figure out here.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
I believe also, but may be out of date, that the stipulation is 32 at the entry to basic stage and given the Capita horror stories on some of the other threads, this may be cutting it fine if you're 32 already.

Not mentioned by @Forastero but equally relevant, RM basic is something like 32 weeks long and you're not going to get much free time.
I wouldn't be such a dumbass as to try and study while training, it would definitely come after.....!

Yes, the age is cutting it fine somewhat, but hey, I guess that just means that if I'm gonna go for it I had better get cracking!
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Going out on the piss is a great way to develop bonds and unit cohesion within a unit for better or for worse. Being an older recruit is a handicap on its own because the mentality of a young squadie is generally more fixated on being a fighting man, not a bookworm (talking fighting arms). Nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, the army needs more of that, but picking a trade based on what study time will be available is a bit much. To the typical teen-early 20'sh soldier you will be an old man and will have to earn their trust because you will need their help at one point, and sitting in the barracks reading not immersed in their tribal culture will not endure you to them.
Believe me, I'm fully capable of going out on the piss, but I'm gonna guess that a couple of times a week is gonna be enough to exempt me from pariah status - or do I need to be a total pisscat in order to get by....? :)
 
Provided of course that the time and means to study does exist while serving; which is really what I'm trying to figure out here.
Then the short answer is - it depends. Mostly on you really. Whatever organisation you join the pace of life is likely to be all over the place and as a private soldier at the age of 33 you're going to have enough challenges as it is without considering study time and a quiet place to do it. People do do it, plenty of evidence out there but the first few years of your career are likely to be spent learning the ropes as well as trade training, if any. It's impossible to advise you properly, we don't know you but you need to go into with your eyes open and don't just restrict yourself to the Army, have a look at the two other services as well.
 

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