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Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!! Trade or Infantry?! Potential qualifications?

Hi i'm totally new to this forum, so forgive me if this has been posted in the wrong place. I have however read a huge amount on these forums with regards ot joining the army etc and now comes the part where i need to ask a question. Please only serious answers.

Bit of background first:

(Please don't think i'm some kid who has a video game fantasy. Far from, i come from a long line of RAF and Army servicemen and spent the first 8 years of my life living in RAF akrotiri with my family, so i DO have a full picture of what its like and the risks involved. I know its not call of duty!!)

Right well from a young age i have always wanted to be a soldier, be it RM, RAF REG, ARMY, etc. I had high hopes form the ages of 16 and leaving school however for one reason or another never went to welbeck college. Anyway i went to college for a few years and hated it, left before i got anything out of it . So went into full time employment. Few years later i had my first child and then a couple later i had my second. Me and the mum were seperated and so i never pursued a career in the army as i wouldn't see the kids.
However me and mum made up and have been happily together again for a while now. Plans of getting married etc. So it has put everything back on the cards, especially being stuck in a dull retail job!

Anyway my question is this. My sensible head says to get a trade, particularly a CMT, vehicle mech or a aviation tech. However i feel i would always be longing for front line duty. Anyway i bit the bullet finally as i'm not getting any younger and applied for the Army Infantry. I completed my BARB on thursday and got a 75. The recruiters exact words were 'why the **** are you joining infantry, you'll be wasted, get a trade.' This has since left me really confused. He gave me a list of 153 potential careers ranging from Intel to Infantry. I have narrowed it down to two choices. Infantry Soldier or Combat Medical Technician. My recruiter has advised me that i could transfer from infantry to CMT after 2 years service, however there are no guarantees. And that if i went in as a CMT the chances of them letting me go infantry are slim to none.

So i'm pretty damn well confused. I realise the importance of having skills for civvi street but also know my desire to be on the front line are great (does that make me stupid). I'm wondering if when your in the infantry and you choose to specialise, is a combat medic the same as a CMT?!? And also what would you suggest? Do they have the same qualifications?

My fitness isn't an issue for either job. I'm 5'11, 13 st 3lb. can bang out 35 press ups in 2 mins (working on more as i type), 75 sit ups in 2 mins, 6 under arm chin ups, but barely any heaves :( and my 1.5 run time is 10:03.

Sorry of this is confusing there's just a lot of info i was trying to put in to one question.

All replies are appreciated

Thanks James


If you're going to stay in the army for your entire career,go inf. If you want quals for civvy street at some stage,go a trade.


There are trades within the Infantry that would allow you to get qualifications such as Signals, RCMT (medic), MT, Assault Pioneer and some other stuff.

The civvy quals you get from Signals courses are NVQs and I think this is the same for the other trades, so not necessarily some thing to write home about.

If you want to join the Infantry then join the Infantry, but remember you can no longer transfer to a Corps at a later stage. If you're planning on serving for a while you will be able to use learning credits and enhanced learning credit which will help you if you want to do some quals off your own back and you will also receive resettlement training when you decide to leave, though how much will depend on how long you've served.
Thanks for quick reply. I suppose the answer to that question is unknown until i'm actually in. But from where i'm sitting now i'd love to do 22 years. Are there any long serving infantry soldiers on here?? I'd be interested to see the longevity of that career, as i know a lot of people do leave infantry after 4 years service. Also does that mean there aren't qualifications available to you in the infantry?! A friend who is serving in Afghan at the moment with the RA made it sound like you can take on whatever courses etc you want?!?
Apologies crow bag i didn't see your post. Thanks for your reply. So are someone joining as a CMT and an infantry soldier training as a medc the same thing?! If so thats pretty much what i'm gonna do..


Apologies crow bag i didn't see your post. Thanks for your reply. So are someone joining as a CMT and an infantry soldier training as a medc the same thing?! If so thats pretty much what i'm gonna do..

I'm not a medic so I'm not sure.
Have you considered REME?
I was in a similar situation to you when I joined up 13 years ago-less kids. As far as combat goes, if you're in the REME as a VM, for example and attached to a regiment carrying out a combat role (eg;Armd or mech inf ) you'll see combat.
Plenty of quals to be gained as a VM too!
REME was an option from the begining, and for exactly that, a VM. However i pictured being stuck in Bastion for example in my overalls wishing i wasn't stuck in a garage!! Interesting to see that that isn't the case :D
What you do on tour depends on several factors as a REME VM. If the vehicles you are looking after go out on the ground then why shouldn't you?
As for garages; Always got a radio on and a brew is never far away so they're not all bad.
If you're going to stay in the army for your entire career,go inf. If you want quals for civvy street at some stage,go a trade.

That's exactly what I tell the lads were I work now (Out now).
The other option is to ask each member of your family who's served about their trade and what they got from it. There are a number of trades that end up serving with frontline units, mainly Medics and REME. But if you have a high BARB score, I'd say it's best to go CMT and then see if you can be posted to the inf, rather than go inf and become one fo their CMT's within the company. I don't know if this is still the case (Known it 10 or so years ago), Crowbag might now, but we has a few cases of clerks and CMT's who were posted to us because they'd already served with another Guards regt, then knew the Guards system and were well trusted within it. Might also work as in being a CMT with one inf regt and then finding yourself spending 18 out of 22 years attached to various inf regts.

Plan on what you'll do if you get out in 6 years time, then if you do the full 22, you won't be at a loss anyway.
the days of planning for a 22 yr career are over; as above, look at where you want to be in 5yrs time.

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As someone who "would have, could have, should have" I'd say look at the 22 year career - the benefits will make a huge difference to your life, if you do aim at 22 then do not go into the infantry, I don't know many that last 22 as an infanteer and lets not feck about - it's dangerous too.

So look for something you think would be interesting, something that carries over to a civvie existence and something you like - if you just really want to see if you can hack it in the infantry then do 4 and try to get into the best unit you think you can hack - it makes a difference when the fertilizer meets the windmill.
the days of planning for a 22 yr career are over; as above, look at where you want to be in 5yrs time.

I signed up for Veng.......24 (min) for me!
Unless, of course tranche 2's got my name on it....
Sorry i don't get the attchment thing. Do you mean if you trained from infantry to medic from say the Royal Anglians, you would only be attached to them?
Not planning for 22 years because of the job cuts and the potential shake up of the military or...
I think you're confusing trades with training.

Cmt is a RAMC trade, ie you are in the medical corps - as with most other corps you can serve in corps unit ( ie a med regt or fd hospital) or be attached to another unit as a specialist.

Infantry is the infantry. After your first tour, or if you express a specific preference you can be trained for a secondary role. medic is one such role, others are driver, signallers, stores etc - they used to be called regt medic assistants but i think that has changed now- you will stay in Bn for your career.
Thanks for clearing that up Danny. Surely you gain some qualifications from being a medic in the infantry though?! Or is it medic in a basic first aid sense, to prevent too much blood loss until the 'PROPER' medics get there etc?

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