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

Firstly, we all joined the Forces for different reasons.
Some for a bit of an adventurous lifestyle, some because it was a way to get trade training and then a good career or simply to just get a job.
I don't think anyone expresses a desire to fight for Queen and Country as the foremost or indeed any motivating factor in joining up.
The elephant in the room is your age.
Have you started the recruitment process?
It can take a while, although if you sign up for a branch that is undermanned that could be reduced.
I'd say you're pushing it age wise for any Infantry, let alone RM or the Parachute Reg.
You may well be very fit, but the accumulative stresses on the body of Commando or Para training are hard enough on young fit men, let alone someone in their 30s. It has been done, but by very few.
You certainly won't have much time for studying at degree level whilst in training.
Of course if you manage to pass out of training, then once the day is done, you've prepared your kit for the next day etc, your time is your own.
The RM has a high graduate in the ranks percentage (@Ninja_Stoker will know the current figures.), so studying won't be looked on as being totally weird.
Be aware you might find yourself counting for others or being Duty crayon monitor. ;)
Anyhoo, good luck if you decide to carry on.
 
To be honest if I was 32 (I'm 55), I'd be flapping more about actually getting into the Royal Marines before age 33. My next concern would be successfully completing training whilst dodging injuries as 30 year olds don't bounce as well as teenagers and have half the success rate in RM training. The other issue is pay for those at the upper end of the scale £14.7k on entry, £18.2k ain't much and sometimes the RMR is the better option.

Thirdly I'd maybe have a look at the SQ/TQs available that provide me with a degree. Snag is, it ain't going to be an artsy one. That said, we average about two to three graduate other ranks in each 55 man/woman intake. The most we've had is 17 graduates in a troop, so they're not rare.

But, if you're planning on doing a non vocational degree and joining the Royal Marines aged 32, it's probably best to buy a Harley-D too as it sounds like you maybe having a pre-menopausal mid-life crisis :D
 

MrMemory

War Hero
By the way, you don't need a degree to become a journalist. You'd be better off applying for junior reporter's position on a local paper who will sponsor you to attend a collage to get yourself skilled up - learn while you earn. Alternatively there are many one year journalism courses accredited by the NCTJ that will teach you the basics, shorthand, law etc.

Many of the the top writers in the UK started off in regional press, spinning straw into gold.

Beware though that salaries are low - the average freelance journo earns about £25k after training. My advice would be to find a specialism in which you can become an authority.
 
If you have picked up some African languages/French then co sider Int Corps or RN CT. More supportive environment for people with a brain and support towards further education.

The role itself more closely aligns with your interest in being a journalist.
 

sumo2

Old-Salt
I Did an OU deg started age 34, having joined at 16 so most of my career training was done, but the armed forces will send you training all your career, sometimes with little notice.
time is the issue with studying, you have to be on your top game in chosen profession, if not you can find yourself doing extra to get up to speed, you want to study, fine, but slackers are not tolerated even if you have an assignment to submit. At your age I was looking retirement time done, not just starting. There have been a few that have changed Army To RN at you age and have been successful but they already had a military mind set.
nothing is impossible and if your mind set meets the military mindset and your body holds up good look and go for it, you can study at any age I finished my Master at 50, so get the fitness stuff done first!
 
As some else has pointed out, you don't really need a degree to get started as a journalist. And you don't need a degree in english literature to get started writing fiction/literature/anything else.

If you want to write, write. In your own time, in the dead times on the job ... the more words you get down on paper, the better you'll get. It doesn't matter if they're published or not, just doing a thousand or two thousand words a day, day in, day out ... you'll get there. (Stephen King's “On Writing” has plenty of useful practical advice on the topic. And even a new copy of that in hardback is way cheaper than a degree. And it's better value, too.)

From everything that I understand about journalism these days, it's not exactly a boom industry. Print's dying, the advertising revenue is drying up, and as for online journalism, well... I can't help but think that there are going to be an awful lot of people chasing a shrinking pool of opportunity. Give it the years which you are thinking of putting in, it's going to be even worse when you come out the other end.

There's a book by Nick Davies (an investigative journalist himself, I think – and I believe the book might be "Flat Earth News” – not sure though, I read it years and years ago) that describes the job of most modern-day journalists as simply copying and pasting the work of other journalists, trying to change it around a little so that it's not too obvious. That or copying and pasting from press releases. Trying to change it around a little so that it's not too obvious. The number of articles the average journalist is expected to produce per day is crazy. It's not journalism. I think anyone expecting that they are going to get to spend weeks on well funded carefully researched exposés of earth shattering issues is in for a nasty surprise.

But if you must ... as someone else here said, find a specialism ... And you potentially already have one: the diving. There might be opportunities there. Especially if you use it to start getting around the world a bit. Get out of SA if you don't fancy it anymore, try a few other places. You might have left it a bit too late for the army, but if you are still on your own (no family etc) you haven't left it too late to dive your way around the planet a few times, take a few gigs just because they look interesting/challenging and might leave you with a few experiences/ideas that you can then get into your writing.

Anyway, good luck to you, whatever you elect to go for.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
FWIW. I completed an OU degree at the back end of my career. It was demanding particulary whilst training over one hundred hours a week for GW1. So yes it can be done.
I had to pay up front and claimed about half back from the firm after sitting each exam.
Most of my contemporaries could have comfortably studied at degree level.
I would not advise someone going through recruit training to attempt it.
Yes 'RE divers are nuts and it is a spec qual not a trade.
Good luck
To be honest if I was 32 (I'm 55), I'd be flapping more about actually getting into the Royal Marines before age 33. My next concern would be successfully completing training whilst dodging injuries as 30 year olds don't bounce as well as teenagers and have half the success rate in RM training. The other issue is pay for those at the upper end of the scale £14.7k on entry, £18.2k ain't much and sometimes the RMR is the better option.

Thirdly I'd maybe have a look at the SQ/TQs available that provide me with a degree. Snag is, it ain't going to be an artsy one. That said, we average about two to three graduate other ranks in each 55 man/woman intake. The most we've had is 17 graduates in a troop, so they're not rare.

But, if you're planning on doing a non vocational degree and joining the Royal Marines aged 32, it's probably best to buy a Harley-D too as it sounds like you maybe having a pre-menopausal mid-life crisis :D
I Did an OU deg started age 34, having joined at 16 so most of my career training was done, but the armed forces will send you training all your career, sometimes with little notice.
time is the issue with studying, you have to be on your top game in chosen profession, if not you can find yourself doing extra to get up to speed, you want to study, fine, but slackers are not tolerated even if you have an assignment to submit. At your age I was looking retirement time done, not just starting. There have been a few that have changed Army To RN at you age and have been successful but they already had a military mind set.
nothing is impossible and if your mind set meets the military mindset and your body holds up good look and go for it, you can study at any age I finished my Master at 50, so get the fitness stuff done first!
All this advice is pure gold, thank you very much for taking the time. It's great to hear the experiences of those who have done it and I'm actually overwhelmed with how awesomely helpful people here are. Its a rare thing to find on the internet.

The consensus I am getting from these posts is to focus on getting the military training done and adjust to the lifestyle first - and only then consider getting further education. This makes a lot of sense, especially as an older candidate who is used to being his own boss and also hasn't studied for 10 years. To try and dive into both at once would be foolhardy.

@Silver Fox what is GW1?

Just to add, forget MCD - we've more bubbleheads than mirrors and it's a 30 month wait to join whilst we restock mirrors unfortunately.
That is good to know, I will look at other avenues as well. Unfortunately that is the best skill set I have to offer - otherwise only good GCSE's (eight A's and a B), a fairly mediocre set of A-levels, an incomplete Electrical Systems Engineering degree which obviously counts for nothing and 8-10 first aid/diver medic courses worth about the same.

If you have picked up some African languages/French then co sider Int Corps or RN CT. More supportive environment for people with a brain and support towards further education.

The role itself more closely aligns with your interest in being a journalist.
You're the second person to recommend going that route. Thank you, I will take a closer look at it. The first question that comes to mind with a role like this is - degrees totally aside - how much physical and mental discipline is involved. I really don't know how military 'desk' jobs work in this respect. Are you still required to do a certain amount of physical training on a daily basis or are you always sitting? What comprises your average day? I'm looking online for some sort of timetable but nothing is really coming up.

By the way, you don't need a degree to become a journalist. You'd be better off applying for junior reporter's position on a local paper who will sponsor you to attend a collage to get yourself skilled up - learn while you earn. Alternatively there are many one year journalism courses accredited by the NCTJ that will teach you the basics, shorthand, law etc.

Many of the the top writers in the UK started off in regional press, spinning straw into gold.

Beware though that salaries are low - the average freelance journo earns about £25k after training. My advice would be to find a specialism in which you can become an authority.
Thanks - the ultimate goal is more to write books than be a journo. And having first hand experience watching my mother struggle as an author, one of my main goals is to develop the personal discipline to do that consistently. That's one of my primary interests in joining the military - to cultivate that discipline. I didn't stress this enough with my initial post. I see and admire it in all the older ex-forces men I meet and I want to grow that same attitude. But all the while I never want to lose sight of the literary side or to stop expanding my knowledge in the area - hence why I am particularly keen on doing an Eng Lit degree concurrently.

I have already done a few articles here and there and as @Charlie Chuckles points out, journalism is a saturated industry and the rewards are slim and inconsistent. To keep writing every day is indeed the only way to improve and excel - but then you need some means of income to keep you going at the same time. Even for most established authors, getting a series of articles or a even a column is just a bit of extra pocket money and in no way a staple.
 
That's really impressive. And I do hear you when you say I may be biting off more than I can chew with a new full time military career + distance learning degree.

You would know, having been through it twice.

Might I ask, did you have much in the way of family commitments to deal with same time as these degrees/work or did they have your full attention?
You can only be asking this question because you already have such commitments. Therefore, take all the advice you have already been given and square it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
If you have picked up some African languages/French then co sider Int Corps or RN CT. More supportive environment for people with a brain and support towards further education.

The role itself more closely aligns with your interest in being a journalist.
Communications Technician actually sounds like an amazing job.

Unfortunately I am not eligible for for security clearance reasons - it's one of the only RN positions which stipulates "You, your surviving parents and your spouse/partner must hold sole british citizenship and you must have continually resided in the UK for a minimum of 10 years".

I've been out the country for 7 years and my dad is a South African citizen so it's a double no-no.

But for anyone reading this thread with similar ideas in mind who does meet the requirements, it is well worth a look at.
 
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TehGymReaper

Swinger
Someone on the Navy forums suggested that being a chef might work in terms of allowing sufficient study time.

Any chefs here care to chime in on that.....?
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Now it just seems you're grasping for straws.....
Why...? It's a well paid position with lots of opportunities for bolt-ons. Apparently the RN is so keen for them at the moment they give a 5k bonus for completing training and a further 5k for submarine training.
 

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