Hi Guys & Gals..question(s)!

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Soldier Recruitment' started by CupcakeJayne, Sep 10, 2008.

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  1. Firstly, I'd like to say hello to everyone. I'm new in this forum and have come here in the hope of getting some valuable insider advice and info with regards to joining.

    I have a few questions so here goes.

    I'm looking at three different career options (Mounted Gunner, Veterinary Technician and Dog Trainer) and wondered if there is anyone on these forums who has first hand experience (or second hand even...I don't care who it comes from!) about these roles, i.e. how involved are they, how enjoyable are they etc.

    I am getting towards my 30's (eeeeek) and have two young children. I have had many people ask me why I want to join when I have children as young as mine (5yo and 1yo) because of the danger involved, being posted oversees etc, so I've come here to also find out information about how often soldiers are deployed, which trades are more likely to go than others (i.e. the trades I'm interested in...).

    My partner is particularly concerned about deployment - he understands that I could/would end up going at some point, but wants to know the regularity...twice per year, once every 4 years etc.

    Cheers everyone,

    Cupcake :D
  2. First off you need to accept that you will most likely be posted away from your home town and family (and your partners family).

    Second you mentioned partner, well get married or you wont qualify for a quarter (you may get one as primary carer but your partner will have zero rights to occupy).

    Third you will really need your other halves support, seriously it will turn into a can of worms if he doesnt want to follow/sit in while you work/live away and socialise etc.

    Tours are dependant on trade and unit, harmony guidelines try to keep it down (1 tour in 18-24months i think) but this does get broken for many.

    Get to the recruiting office and get your partner involved in the process.

    Good luck.
  3. Welcome to Arrse, Cupcake! An original pseudonym, indeed!

    If you become involved with dogs, you will be deployed; how often I cannot say, but my last unit was regularly trawled for dog handlers.

    If you become involved with horses, it will be London & Melton Mowbray, IIRC.

    Get down to the ACIO and ask there.

  4. Thanks Disco!

    Yes, he's a partner at the moment, though we've already discussed getting married (not just because of the Army!). He's 100% supportive of what I want to do, just has his questions which is a good thing...I'd be more worried if he didnt.

    I think I've already accepted I'd be sent on tour at some point, we just didn't know how many times per year and how long for etc. It's good to have some idea!

    I'm going to AFCO tomorrow so will see how it goes.

    Thanks again!
  5. It's my real nickname...haha!! Looks good next to Arrse!

    I seem to have picked three different trades that either have horses, or dogs, or both involved...so I'll have a difficult choice to make between them. I'm guessing that as a Vet Tech you'll be deployed as a dog handler purely because of the training you've had? I'll ask at AFCO tomorrow.

    Cheers Limotes, you've been very helpful!
  6. Vet Tech and Dog Trainer are very difficult to get into and the spaces are few and far between
  7. Vet tech do vet stuff - I don't know how often they deploy, but as pointed out, very difficult to get into (loads want to, but minimal on offer).

    Dog handler is similar - loads seem to want to join the Army to then work with fluffy animals. Maybe they don't like people as much as dogs? They will deploy and potentially more often (in demand). I would say that dog handler would be more isolated for you, as you will spend alot of time with your dog, making it your etc. Then being away - family may suffer (as it always may in the forces).

    Finally Kings Troop - ceremonial branch of the Royal Artillery. BUT you are a Gunner first and a horse mad display troop second. They get tasked to deploy with regular Gunner units more often now (as pointed out, supposed to be no more than 6 months on tour, then at least 18 months off). as Kings Troop are used to augment,. they may not deploy that often (you go as individuals or groups). Kings Troop is also hard work.

    The biggest hardship for you will be the training period - you will do basic training (14 weeks), where you will be separated from your family. all of your chosen trades will then have pretty intensive phase 2 training packages to learn your trade - I don't know the details for dog handler and vet tech, but KT you will then go to Larkhill to do 3 months there and then go to KT to do the riding course and a trade for them (farrier, stable hand etc).

    I am not 100% sure, but I am pretty certain that during Phase 2 training you don't get a quarter either, so you may be separated from the family for at least 6 months (phase 1, then phase 2), with sporadic weekends to go and visit them.

    you don't say where they are, but if they are a fair distance away from the Phase 1 and 2 schools, then travelling back on a friday night and then returning sunday night will be tough - can you be away from your 1 and 5 year old and can they be away from you?

    Reading your post, I would assume that Mr Cupcake then becomes primary carer - does his job support that, is that what he wants - to look after 2 kids on his own, no support from you except phone calls and 1 or 2 weekend visits in 6 months and a period of leave between Ph1 and 2?

    All difficult decisions and choices and one that doesn't pop up too often as most join before they have children to bring into the equation! Good luck!
  8. D-S makes some very good points there, and has reminded me that anything to do with animals is usually a popular trade.

  9. Thanks guys! Some really helpful information and food for thought.

    I went to AFCO this morning and spoke to one of the Sgts there who was also very helpful. He has reiterated exactly what you've both said about Vet Tech and Dog Handler being very difficult to get into, so it's back to my (first) choice of KT which, thankfully, he has said I should have no problems getting into.

    Having long talks with my other half now to make sure it's what we both want, however the Sgt did say to keep in my mind that I have to do what I want to do...he said 'you don't want to be sitting next to your partner in 10 years time thinking I could have been doing that' while watching the KT on tele. He's right.

    At the end of the day, the biggest thing we have to take into account is I will be posted overseas at some point..you never know when, but it will happen. We know it'll be hard to deal with when I start training in phase 1 and 2 and it'll be hard in more ways than one. I will certainly find it hard leaving my children (who wouldn't?) however, its for good reason that I'd be going. I want to provide my children with a life like no other...I want to give them the best I possibly can and should I find I have made a huge mistake in joining, nothing is irreversible. My other half is prepared to take on the care of two children. If I don't have his support I won't do it.

    So much to think about! I got quite excited thinking about the possibility of a new career doing what I love the most! And, I've come home with an application form.... 8O
  10. Cupcake,

    As long as you and your partner understand the potential difficulties, then you should be fine.

    Complete the form, deliver it to the ACIO and start exercising (gently). See elsewhere on the site for useful hints and tips.

    Good Luck!

  11. Cupcake,

    Just a couple more points (having just read your update. they are a bit depressing, but realistic.

    The hardest part, as you put it, will be deploying away for 6 months, but the hardest part for you will be more or less the same period of time away conducting your Phase 1 and 2 training - where you will need to be 100% focused, not distracted by home life too much.

    Also the point about nothing being irreversable...well sorry to disappoint, but after you attest and when your Discharge As Of Right wnidow closes (which given your age will be about 10 wks into Phase 1 I think), you are obliged to complete your 4 years of service, as per the contract. Given that you sound quite determined to go through with this, you may well get past that window before you decide to try and eject - a point you shoul dthink hard about, as you will find it VERY hard to leave after that point. It is not like joining any other job where you quit and leave the next day/week/month.

    Finally, Kings Troop is popular too, but as stated by ACIO, shouldn't be hard to join. Try to get a visit to them before you join - it will give you a pointer and they can see you and give you the tick in the box. ACIO should be able to advise.