Age limit for officer entry

#1
Hello all. I'd like your advice on whether there is any way I can join the army as an officer. I am 29 years 2 months!

The Army Careers Office has informed me I am too old to apply, and the website states "as a general rule…candidates should be…under 29 on entry to Sandhurst" however other literature more vaguely mentions encountering difficulties applying from late 20s/early 30s.

Can anyone tell me who ultimately decides eligibility? Is it in the legislation? Can cap-badges choose to be more flexible? Or would it depend on Sandhurst’s entry criteria? Thanks.
 
#3
No and no :( , except I joined the TA 6 months ago. I was surprised to hear my age is not a bar to commissioning in the TA despite the eligibility criteria looking similar on paper for ta and regs.
 
#5
I suppose you could consider becoming a vicar, as the RAChD does not apply this age limit. I accept such a move might be a little extreme, particularly if you are not of a religious nature (although, on balance, that might not be a barrier). Chaplains apart, you will struggle to find a cap badge that feels it can offer you a career.

I do know of a chap who joined the AGC at 29, but he had all sorts of accountancy qualifications and experience. Also, apparently, little dignity, but there you go.
 
#6
Donny said:
I suppose you could consider becoming a vicar, as the RAChD does not apply this age limit. I accept such a move might be a little extreme, particularly if you are not of a religious nature (although, on balance, that might not be a barrier). Chaplains apart, you will struggle to find a cap badge that feels it can offer you a career.

I do know of a chap who joined the AGC at 29, but he had all sorts of accountancy qualifications and experience. Also, apparently, little dignity, but there you go.
The same goes for doctors and dentists. The only other option. as I recall, is AAC pilot, they may take candidates in their early thirties, and lets face it, just how difficult can it be?, I should imagine, you could learn the necessary skills, and pick up your licence, in a weekend. :D
 
#8
I hear that Pizza/fastfood delivery skills are in high demand within AAC to so you could get some experience in your local takeaway now while you wait-could cut dowen your training time to a few hours (to get your flying licence).
 
#9
The entry age is below 29 on entry at Sandhurst and therefore with a following wind below 30 on commissioning. If you are much older you won't be able to compete with your peers 10 or 12 years down the line -i.e., have the requisite military experience (optimum age to command as a Lt Col is early 40s at which point some officers may have been in the Army over 20 years and therefore better placed than someone with 1/2 as much experience).

In the spirit of ARRSE the rumour is that the age limit on entry will be dropped soon to about 27.

If you are an exceptional individual the system may be wishing to bend the rules - but highly unlikely as the Army is doing well for young officers.
 
#10
So with your dream of being an officer cruelly dashed, and your prospects of enlistment into the ranks, looking to be a non-starter, might I suggest, the Foreign Legion?
No seriously, WE know that they're a bit pants, but most people are impressed by them, and they will take recruits up to the age of 40.
 
#11
barbs said:
The entry age is below 29 on entry at Sandhurst and therefore with a following wind below 30 on commissioning. If you are much older you won't be able to compete with your peers 10 or 12 years down the line -i.e., have the requisite military experience (optimum age to command as a Lt Col is early 40s at which point some officers may have been in the Army over 20 years and therefore better placed than someone with 1/2 as much experience).

In the spirit of ARRSE the rumour is that the age limit on entry will be dropped soon to about 27.

If you are an exceptional individual the system may be wishing to bend the rules - but highly unlikely as the Army is doing well for young officers.
I can understand the thinking behind not wanting 'older' officers on account of their hitting a career wall later on. Against that, an 'older' officer, like others, may not necessarily be looking to stay-in for the long haul, so does it really make any odds if they flatline at 40 - is it not better to allow a suitable candidate in for 'only' a decade or so than not at all? At the risk of contradicting myself, I would also say that the Army could expect a greater level of commitment from 'older' officers i.e. they are less likely to head off after three years as at 29/30 a person is looking to settle-down permanently into a career. On a more esoteric level, might not the skills and work/study/life experiences of an older candidate be a selling point in their favour? Aside from this, why set the age limit at 29? A candidate hardly becomes decrepit beyond that age, so surely a degree of leeway should be allowed if a candidate, slightly over the age limit, is suitable and physically up to getting through training? - there are plenty of 29/30 year olds who could run many of their younger contemporaries into the ground. If, as suggested, a reduction of the age limit to 27 is being considered, I have three questions - why would this age be chosen; why was the age limit ever increased from 25 to 29 in the first place; and why is there the 'in general' qualification as currently stands with regard to the age limit?
 
#12
In the spirit of our wonderful Govt...and adopting all things European legislatively....I wonder how this age limit will fare under the new Age Discrimination Employment Laws coming into play on April 1. This removes the right to determine someones suitabilty for a role based on Age....Does this topic look litigious ?
 
#13
gallowglass said:
barbs said:
The entry age is below 29 on entry at Sandhurst and therefore with a following wind below 30 on commissioning. If you are much older you won't be able to compete with your peers 10 or 12 years down the line -i.e., have the requisite military experience (optimum age to command as a Lt Col is early 40s at which point some officers may have been in the Army over 20 years and therefore better placed than someone with 1/2 as much experience).

In the spirit of ARRSE the rumour is that the age limit on entry will be dropped soon to about 27.

If you are an exceptional individual the system may be wishing to bend the rules - but highly unlikely as the Army is doing well for young officers.
I can understand the thinking behind not wanting 'older' officers on account of their hitting a career wall later on. Against that, an 'older' officer, like others, may not necessarily be looking to stay-in for the long haul, so does it really make any odds if they flatline at 40 - is it not better to allow a suitable candidate in for 'only' a decade or so than not at all? At the risk of contradicting myself, I would also say that the Army could expect a greater level of commitment from 'older' officers i.e. they are less likely to head off after three years as at 29/30 a person is looking to settle-down permanently into a career. On a more esoteric level, might not the skills and work/study/life experiences of an older candidate be a selling point in their favour? Aside from this, why set the age limit at 29? A candidate hardly becomes decrepit beyond that age, so surely a degree of leeway should be allowed if a candidate, slightly over the age limit, is suitable and physically up to getting through training? - there are plenty of 29/30 year olds who could run many of their younger contemporaries into the ground. If, as suggested, a reduction of the age limit to 27 is being considered, I have three questions -why would this age be chosen; why was the age limit ever increased from 25 to 29 in the first place; and whay is there the 'in general' qualification as currently stands with regard to the age limit?
We need our Junior officers, to be keen and agressive, even, dare I say it, a little headstrong and impetuous, otherwise nothing would ever get done. With age comes wisdom and foresight, which throws water on the dash and vigour of youth.
Thankfully, as a counterpoint to all this youthful zeal, we have the experience and wisdom of our NCOs. Its a winning (and proven) combination.
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
Not really, it'll work in much the same way as the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) does. Under FOIA, you are entitled to ask for copies of all sorts of information held by a whole range of public bodies, and they are required to give it to you. But, as with all things, the govt has a get out of jail card up it's sleeve. There are exemptions to the requirements of the Act. By and large they relate to national security, the prevention and detection of crime, and the preservation of the tax base (including the prvention and detection of tax fraud).

With regard to age discrimination in the forces, they'll simply say that they have exempted the Armed Forces from the requirements of the Act. If a potential officer was "over age" and wanted to press his/her case, they would in all probability have to seek a judicial review - and that's a very expensive and time consuming path to go down.
 
#15
Mr_Fingerz said:
With regard to age discrimination in the forces, they'll simply say that they have exempted the Armed Forces from the requirements of the Act. If a potential officer was "over age" and wanted to press his/her case, they would in all probability have to seek a judicial review - and that's a very expensive and time consuming path to go down.
I wouldn't bet on the aggrieved PO winning that judicial review. Those infernal Euro-meddlers aren't completely stupid: the armed forces are given special treatment in the European Directive. From the recitals:

( 18 ) This Directive does not require, in particular, the armed
forces and the police, prison or emergency services to
recruit or maintain in employment persons who do not
have the required capacity to carry out the range of
functions that they may be called upon to perform with
regard to the legitimate objective of preserving the
operational capacity of those services.

( 19 ) Moreover, in order that the Member States may continue
to safeguard the combat effectiveness of their armed
forces, they may choose not to apply the provisions of
this Directive concerning disability and age to all or part
of their armed forces. The Member States which make
that choice must define the scope of that derogation.
Note the use of the phrase "combat effectiveness". British drafting, Gawd bless it!
 
#16
Sleeper_service said:
We need our Junior officers, to be keen and agressive, even, dare I say it, a little headstrong and impetuous, otherwise nothing would ever get done. With age comes wisdom and foresight, which throws water on the dash and vigour of youth.
Thankfully, as a counterpoint to all this youthful zeal, we have the experience and wisdom of our NCOs. Its a winning (and proven) combination.
Okay then - but at what point can you say 'so-and-so is 25/26...29 years old and is therefore not keen and aggressive'? Where do you draw the line? Is a 29 year old automatically lacking in the characteristics you mention above? Not necessarily. Surely the question as to whether a candidate has such qualities would be determined at the RCB? Wisdom and foresight are hardly impediments to being an effective officer. What I cannot understand is that so many regiments and corps seem dead against taking anyone after 25, which makes me wonder whay the age limit was ever upped to 29 (why that particular age and not 30?) or is now being spoken of in terms of a reduction to 27? This apparently grey area must be leaving some candidates, and later cadets, in something of a limbo when it comes to Choice of Arm at the RMAS.

On an historic note, men were commissioned beyond 30 years during the Second World War, and they certaily displayed an abundance of keeness and aggression etc. I don't imagine there would be too many looking to sue their way to a commission - surely getting there on merit is preferable? The suggestion that 'in general' applicants for a commission should be less than 29 before starting at the RMAS, and the mention of an age waiver, does create a certain uncertainty as to whether someone on the borderline is in with a shout.
 
#17
gallowglass said:
Okay then - but at what point can you say 'so-and-so is 25/26...29 years old and is therefore not keen and aggressive'? Where do you draw the line?
You can start by saying 29 year old Lts in the Inf, with more of an interest in getting home to their wife than squaring away the plethora of Regimental Duties and his blokes, are too old.

We don't let women in to the teeth arms - how about dropping the entry age limit back to 24 too? :twisted:
 
#18
DPM said:
You can start by saying 29 year old Lts in the Inf, with more of an interest in getting home to their wife than squaring away the plethora of Regimental Duties and his blokes, are too old.

We don't let women in to the teeth arms - how about dropping the entry age limit back to 24 too? :twisted:
Agreed. 29 year old 2/Lts. in the infantry would appear somewhat odd (though I have heard of it happening). However, I dont' imagine that there are too many officers (infantry of otherwise) who will saddle themselves with a wife during the early stages of their career, as this might indicate a certain lack of commitment? If I have taken you up correctly, the age question is more a matter of attitude - 'candidate X is 25/26...29, and therefore set in his ways'. This seems to be based on a simple and automatic equation of 'youth' = suitable and able; and 'older' = uncommitted and unable. Perhaps this is so, but it strikes me that this sort of thinking cannot take an individual's character into consideration - how is it then that some people have passed RCB at 27 and 28, while those younger have not?
 
#19
GallowGlass - why don't you ask someone at MOD and put a case forward - assuming of course that you can pass RCB etc....

Or as they used to do - be economical with the truth until the last minute...integrity crisis I know but....could force a point ?
 
#20
picklepot said:
No and no :( , except I joined the TA 6 months ago. I was surprised to hear my age is not a bar to commissioning in the TA despite the eligibility criteria looking similar on paper for ta and regs.
It's not a bar as such but we do need to get overage acknowledgement from APC before we send you to Westbury for the TAB. Other posters have also pointed out the age breaks for future promotions and it's a simple fact that as you get older, the body tends to display wear and tear more obviously and more permanently - although our older Potential Officers do tend to display more mental toughness which compensates a bit.

Speak to your PSAO and ask if you can attend a PO Selection W/E either one being run by your Regt (if they do) or one being run by your Brigade's Regional Training Centre. If your good enough, age shouldn't be a problem - I know many mainstream (i.e. TA Gp A) TA Officers who Commissioned at 30+ and I was pushing 29 by the time I went there, sadly many years ago now.
 

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