Joining at 16.


Hi all. I am really stuck I am 15 and I will be leaving school next year and am hoping to join the army at 16... But there is a problem my mum isn't letting me leave school... What should I do? Any advice? Cheers!


Haha!! Don't think that would sort her.... Haha. Do I have rights in this? Can she legally stop me? Coz if she stops me I'm running away...
Stab the ol' trout with a rusty bread knife, that'll ******* learn her!

A little harsh.

Your mother is likely worried that you will put yourself at a severe disadvantage in later life if you join up instead of achieving your full acedemic potential first.
Is she pushing you towards A-Levels and Uni etc?
If so, why dont you want to do these first?

If you are dead set on joining at the earliest oppertunity then you should re-assure her and do your research. Find out what qualifications you can study for in your chosen regiment. Apprenticships are available and study is generally encouraged throughout.
To join up you need your parents permission up to the age of 18. So you could just wait til then.

What Regiment do you want to join?


I guess but I have my mind set... I want to try to get into the paras. I know it will be hard but I am determined. So If I don't have my parents permission I am not allowed to join fullstop until the age of 18?
Yes she can legally and no running away is a shit idea. Distance would not matter, she'll still be your mother! Plus you'll need somebody to do your washing when your on leave!


I did, but that was into the REME Boys School, aka Army Apprentices College at Arborfield to learn a trade. But that was in the '60s and I don't know what the current opportunities are, in terms of enlistment. Trust me, get a decent education and then enlist.


Oh that sucks. So basically I'm fucked...? My mum says she wants me to become an officer but I don't want that at all. Because wouldn't joining as an officer limit my chances of joining the paras? And I would hugely prefere being a squaddie.
Not at all! You get officers in every regiment.

Problem is that if you **** off your studies, join up and then hate it, it will be difficult to get back into education.

You need to look at the long term implications of joining up. Look at other regiments/corps to see what skills they will give you for later life.
Also look at the reasons you want to join, will those reasons still be there in 5 years, 10 years, maybe you get married, have kids. Dont join cos it looks like fun, its not always fun.


Cheers man. It's just I really don't know what to do with myself at the moment. One part of me wants to join as soon as possible and the other side of me wants me to finish my education. But I swear the paras only take a handful of people from sandhurst? So wouldn't that limit my chances?


Go and speak to the nice man at your local ACIO ....... if Mum doesn't sign your not getting in until your 18 at the earliest ..... you'll still need to get an education and what happens if all your Grades are crap ...... do you think the Army want thick buggers these days ...... no they don't !

See what type of results you get from doing the online BARB test below .

Recruitment tests - British Army Website


my son (6th form) went off to the ACIO one day - cue me phoning my mate who works there to give him the required answers.
"Dad, they told me to stay in 6th form, go to uni, get a degree then go to RMAS"
"you don't say? well best listen to their advice eh son?"
like ppl have said, once you leave education you ain't getting back in . stick it out, get as good a head start as you can.



I agree with above and have a daughter your age and have just given her the same advice mate. An education goes a long way and if you have the potential to go to Uni use that to your advantage. Go educate yourself ( wish i had, but I was thick as... and had no option) enjoy 6th form, get smashed at Uni and that will give you a good standing to be a pissed up cadet at sandhurst and a all round better Officer one day. If it was good enough for Wills and Harry.. don't knock it! Trust me Mums always know best.


Get her to come to the recruiting office with you. Seriously a careers adviser will be able to pursuade her more than you will, and give her tons of information to put her mind at ease.


Book Reviewer
Apart from the Army what are your other interests, con your Mum into believing your taking her advice and just keep on whinging how unhappy your are doing your second choice,or her first choice of career, it worked for me, took three months of my continuous moaning before she relented
Its entirely with the individual, some dont become instant adults at 16/17 others strive and are very mature for their ages. As said you cant proceed through the application process without your parents signing the AFCO 4 and later on the 486 Consent form if under 18. Come down the ACIO with your parents and if your looking at going for FE and joining up after year 12/13 then you may be able to start the process as a FE Bursar so you and your mum both get what you want plus £1000 if you pass with a A or B grade whilst going through College (Recruiter will advise you on this).

Regarding going to college and getting better grades Ive seen both sides of this at the ACIO..those who do good FE courses and get good quals but also those who bum around for a few years getting crap quals or BTECs that dont equate to anything and the applicants themselves have told me they wasted 2 years of there lifes or even more the ones who went on to do pointess courses at make sure you do courses worth while to suit your career progression and not just ones to be with your mates.

Ive seen how much the Army colleges did for my son and also how young applicants have matured but only you (and your parents)can work out the best course of action for you.....also think of the dangerous life you will be undertaking as a potential soldier. I dont envy the decisions and uncertainty you are going through especially with Tuition fees and the recession against dangers of a Forces career but if you go with parents to an ACIO they will be able to answer questions and get rid of myths the media put on everyone.

Good luck
I joined at 16 straight from school. There are times when I wished I,d have stayed on at school & got up to all the "yoof" culture of the time. Instead of jumping from one institution (school) to another (Army). Joining at 16 is not the be all and end all, get yourself a good ed , party travel, do whatever for a year.. then join up. You,ll still be young enough to bang out a long and sucsessfull army carear. Just my tuppence worth having from having been in your position over 25 yrs ago now. But at the end of the day.. If mum dont sign.. you dont join until you are 18. so fella the balls firmly in her court. Just dont be disheartened if she dont, you still have time on your hands. Good luck.


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