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Joining as an Officer in 30’s

Hi all,

Looking for some general advice and opinions on re-joining the Army as an Officer in my 30’s (I’m 31 now but will be 32 when starting at Sandhurst). I have previously served in the R Sigs for 6 years and left to go to uni. I graduated last year and since bagged a graduate job but it is beyond mundane. I can’t see myself doing this job for the rest of my working life and as a result, I have decided to rejoin. I’m hoping that it would be as fun and rewarding a career that I previously experienced. I’ve so far passed my medical and received an age waiver from the R Sigs Corps Colonel which has effectively given me confirmed cadetship to join the Corps after Sandhurst. I’ve now got a date for AOSB briefing and I’m currently preparing for that.

What I’m looking for then is what do those serving think about joining at this age? Would you recommend it? Would the experience be as enjoyable as if I had have joined as an Officer at a younger age? Is being a Junior Officer at my age worth the gruelling year at Sandhurst? Is my age going to affect my potential Army career either positively or negatively?

A lot of my former Army colleagues have either left or are about to leave and say the day to day running of the Army (or more likely just the Corps) is one of the main reasons causing them to do so. Is now really not a good time to join or are they possibly guilty of the usual chimfing and thinking the grass is greener? I imagine the next Defence Review might be a better answer for that last question!

Cheers in advance for any responses!

M
 
You may find the reserves a better fit for your age profile.
 
It’s possible, the army seems gradually moving away from a JO being a clueless 20 year old (No offence to any Ruperts) to taking a more mature view on skills, experience and potential. Especially if you’ve got a more technical background, which it sounds like you do. Most of the Capts I speak to desribe troop or platoon command as a fleeting couple of years and before they know it, they are in a succession of staff jobs. So I wouldn’t judge the job by the first 2-3 years.

We’re in difficult economic times, so take whatever you can. Be aware that you may earn more corn in the boring grad job in the longer term.
 
No different to commissioning from the ranks and going to Sandhurst in your late 20's, or early 30's - I have seen it done successfully.

Depending on your fitness level it might hurt you a bit to run around during what is effectively basic training. But, I would assume that you know how the game is played and that you are still relatively fit and you would have no problems. You would be streets ahead of most of the other cadets with your "already served" knowledge which would compensate for any age related drawbacks.

Mine offered me back in at age 34 straight after I gained my degree, wish I had gone. I was still fit, running and yomping during my uni downtime.

Good luck.
 

Tyk

LE
No different to commissioning from the ranks and going to Sandhurst in your late 20's, or early 30's - I have seen it done successfully.

Depending on your fitness level it might hurt you a bit to run around during what is effectively basic training. But, I would assume that you know how the game is played and that you are still relatively fit and you would have no problems. You would be streets ahead of most of the other cadets with your "already served" knowledge which would compensate for any age related drawbacks.

Mine offered me back in at age 34 straight after I gained my degree, wish I had gone. I was still fit, running and yomping during my uni downtime.

Good luck.

That was my thinking, I've had quite a few LE Officers working on my projects or alongside me, most of them commissioned around the 30 mark and seemed to be making the best of it.

@BdrBeaumont My view as a civvy that works with a lot of serving or retired mil bods is fill your boots and I hope it works out well for you.
 
I graduated last year and since bagged a graduate job but it is beyond mundane.
Go for it

If your job is beyond mundane today, it will only get worse tomorrow.
 
Thanks for all the replies.

@Just_plain_you - what makes you suggest the reserves? To be honest, having served as a regular and seeing (and at points taking part in) the way reserves or STABs are viewed (rightly or wrongly, I met both very good and equally rubbish TA) really puts me off it. But more than that, I really feel that if I’m going to do it then I’d rather do it in full measure.

@delivering_capability - any idea of what any of those staff jobs entail? I understand you can’t be posting about specifics on a public forum though. I did speak to a Major a while ago who said he had just finished an Afghan posting in a Project Management role but I didn’t get much more out of him than that.

@Effendi - Yeah I really don’t want to be in a position in 10 years time that I regret not having tried it. I’m sure the course will be tough but worth it in the end and “only“ 42 weeks long!

@mush_dad - Agreed. It is what inspired me to start looking at rejoining in the first place. I could end up on my current project doing the same thing day in day out for the next 2-3 or more years. Then I would likely move to the next one, rinse and repeat.

I’ve decided I will just go for it anyway. I still need to pass Briefing and Main Board anyway and if I don’t succeed then I still have my job to fall back on.
 
You are right about the Reserves. As an ex Regular, I suspect you wouldn't find it particularly fulfilling.

Go the whole hog, as you are...
 
That was my thinking, I've had quite a few LE Officers working on my projects or alongside me, most of them commissioned around the 30 mark and seemed to be making the best of it.

@BdrBeaumont My view as a civvy that works with a lot of serving or retired mil bods is fill your boots and I hope it works out well for you.

Thing is, he won't be going in as an LE officer. R Sigs Le officers will go as an Ops Offr, or a TOT, or a QM or a MTO or whatever their background is. He's going in as a Sandhurst DE and will be Tp Cmdr, progressing to prob Sqn 2 1/c and staff jobs etc.
Only DE offrs that I know of who actually get their hands dirty are Tech Adjts but that's after the Tp Cmdr bit.

The other ones at the same stage of progression will be 5 or 6 years younger (may not seem a lot but it is).
LE Officers also get commissioned with a fairly good backdated seniority date so will be Captains either straight away or within 6 months (CO discretion).

I still reckon he should go for it but, even with previous experience, it will be a totally new career path.
(PS not many R Sigs LE officers are commissioned at the 30 year old mark. Youngest on my course was 37 and most of us were approaching 40 after a 22 year slot).
 
Things have changed since I went through but different corps had age limits for age on commissioning. No combat arm would take someone over 26. Understand how limited your options may be.


Also, consider where you want to be in life in the next 5, 10 and 20 years. 5 years playing silly buggers and being messed around as a subbie is easily done at 22, less easily at 32. If you have been successful as a civvy, is £45k as a captain where you want to be in ten years? Could you face a starting a second career in 20 years after leaving?

ultimately, you need to work out what you want from life. Certainty or riches will not come from a career in green in the short term.
 
@fraudstar - as I said in my OP, my only option is to join the Signals as I have confirmed cadetship With them. As I understand it I don’t have to go through the RSB whilst at Sandhurst as I will already have a place with the Signals. I guess I could attempt to transfer across to Engineers after commissioning if I really get itchy feet though but as you say age won’t be on my side. I work in civil and structural engineering at the moment so it would be the obvious choice to join the Engineers. I did try this in the first instance but after I found I would need confirmed cadetship due to age my recruiter advised I go for the Signals as I had 6 years in the bank with them.

Is it really that bad for your first 5 years as an officer? It can’t be any worse than being messed around for 6 years as a Signaller but, like you suggested, I was 22 at the time so it made “easier” to stomach.

In terms of pay, in 10 years time as a civvy I would be looking at around £45k (ish, probably more) a year so pay difference is not really something holding me back. That and pay isn’t one of my main drivers for change anyway.

As far as changing career in 20 years time doesn’t everyone have to face that anyway once they’ve signed off? Of course not everyone signs off after 20, some a lot sooner but most have a career change as a result.
 
@fraudstar - as I said in my OP, my only option is to join the Signals as I have confirmed cadetship With them. As I understand it I don’t have to go through the RSB whilst at Sandhurst as I will already have a place with the Signals. I guess I could attempt to transfer across to Engineers after commissioning if I really get itchy feet though but as you say age won’t be on my side. I work in civil and structural engineering at the moment so it would be the obvious choice to join the Engineers. I did try this in the first instance but after I found I would need confirmed cadetship due to age my recruiter advised I go for the Signals as I had 6 years in the bank with them.

Is it really that bad for your first 5 years as an officer? It can’t be any worse than being messed around for 6 years as a Signaller but, like you suggested, I was 22 at the time so it made “easier” to stomach.

In terms of pay, in 10 years time as a civvy I would be looking at around £45k (ish, probably more) a year so pay difference is not really something holding me back. That and pay isn’t one of my main drivers for change anyway.

As far as changing career in 20 years time doesn’t everyone have to face that anyway once they’ve signed off? Of course not everyone signs off after 20, some a lot sooner but most have a career change as a result.
Everyone’s first five years are different. I don’t know for life in the signals but life at RD is renowned for being uncertain. It is unlikely to calm down much until you get out on the staff.

if pay isn’t your main motivator then the army offers you lots of opportunity. You’re unlikely to get the same opportunity for sport/at/travel/ops in your current career. The army has some fantastic facets and some grim ones. Getting told at a month’s notice you’re off to BATUS/BATUK for 3-6 months can either be awesome or awful. There is no one size fits all answer, you need to tailor it to you.
 

Buddy!

War Hero
Hi all,

Looking for some general advice and opinions on re-joining the Army as an Officer in my 30’s (I’m 31 now but will be 32 when starting at Sandhurst). I have previously served in the R Sigs for 6 years and left to go to uni. I graduated last year and since bagged a graduate job but it is beyond mundane. I can’t see myself doing this job for the rest of my working life and as a result, I have decided to rejoin. I’m hoping that it would be as fun and rewarding a career that I previously experienced. I’ve so far passed my medical and received an age waiver from the R Sigs Corps Colonel which has effectively given me confirmed cadetship to join the Corps after Sandhurst. I’ve now got a date for AOSB briefing and I’m currently preparing for that.

What I’m looking for then is what do those serving think about joining at this age? Would you recommend it? Would the experience be as enjoyable as if I had have joined as an Officer at a younger age? Is being a Junior Officer at my age worth the gruelling year at Sandhurst? Is my age going to affect my potential Army career either positively or negatively?

A lot of my former Army colleagues have either left or are about to leave and say the day to day running of the Army (or more likely just the Corps) is one of the main reasons causing them to do so. Is now really not a good time to join or are they possibly guilty of the usual chimfing and thinking the grass is greener? I imagine the next Defence Review might be a better answer for that last question!

Cheers in advance for any responses!

M

With previous military experience, I'm sure you'll be fine. The Army needs to adapt and cease being so ageist in my opinion - it's hardly in a position to turn down talent.

Good luck, I wish I went to Uni and joined as an Officer a little later; I see it now as something well within my grasp, handicapped by the plain silly and archaic Late Entry rules.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
The average age for OCdts at Sandhurst is 23/24. Usually the oldest is aged 30 but age waivers are available as the OP has learnt and acquired. The oldest UK OCdt in recent years was 34, though some of the Internationals are a year or so older than that.

LE officers will usually be older still, but their course is only 4 weeks rather than 44.

Good luck at AOSB.
 

Cruthin1967

Old-Salt
It’s possible, the army seems gradually moving away from a JO being a clueless 20 year old (No offence to any Ruperts) to taking a more mature view on skills, experience and potential. Especially if you’ve got a more technical background, which it sounds like you do. Most of the Capts I speak to desribe troop or platoon command as a fleeting couple of years and before they know it, they are in a succession of staff jobs. So I wouldn’t judge the job by the first 2-3 years.

We’re in difficult economic times, so take whatever you can. Be aware that you may earn more corn in the boring grad job in the longer term.
Many years ago I was clueless JO of barely 21. Couldn't agree more.
 

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