Joining while still at school

Can you still join the TA whilst still at school?

I'm 17 and in Upper sixth and want a taste of army life before I apply for a commission.

Hoping to join the Combat section of the TA in NI just outside Belfast.

Any insight advice, tips, hints would be helpful.
It's a good age to join. The older blokes will look after you and you'll learn gently (or perhaps I was just fortunate in having a good set of blokes in my unit?). Youngsters can get away with a lot that the older blokes won't.

I joined at 17 and three months - the Pay Sgt found a loophole that allowed me to be classed as a Junior Bandsman (entry age was 16 for this IIRC, though I doubt that many people got into the TA via the loophole as it was intended for Regular service). The loophole may have been closed by now.

I would warn, though, that you've GOT to put your education first. While at school, treat the TA as no more than a hobby. You can join the TA at almost any age and it won't affect your career (if you remember the gloden rule of family, job, TA). Fail your A-levels and job prospects, both civvy and Army, are hampered.

I'd do it again - even the bit about failing my A-levels first time - but I'd learn my lesson and spend more time revising and less running about in green. (I do miss not having a degree, but when exams and Camp come at the same time...... Ho Hum).
I joined at 18 at it was great. Also, you can get your TAFFS and the other pants courses out the way so you can get your recruit's course done before uni and hey presto, extra beer tokens and everything!

If you are applying for a commission, maybe university might be the way forward for you, you could join the UOTC, get paid, learn military and leadership skills, and have fun - all focused around your studies. Plus you won't get posted to Iraq or Afghanistan.

I am aiming for a commission and have passed the AOSB Briefing in the summer, I was keen on getting to Sandhurst asap, but I chose to go to university because you get paid £7,000 more at Sandhurst than an non-graduate. That is something to consider too.

Anyway, thought I would shead some light on another route! TA would be good fun for you if you are not planning on university, but as mentioned already: get those A levels.

All the best,

Panoptes is asking if he can join the TA at 17, not what other options are open down the road. The UOTC is not the only route to Sandhurst, and it's not supposed to be the best Officer Training around. UOTC is not the best preparation for Sandhurst, and it's not accurate to suggest that it is. The TA offers better officer training, actual command experience and a higher rate of pay.

The real indicator of the relative worth of both routes is the amount of UOTC that transfer to the TA to gain more experience prior to regular Sandhurst. Mainly because a command position in the UOTC is nothing like a real command and the experience that provides.
I joined week after my 17 bday, but some infantry units want you to be at least 17 and half. I think it's great for when your at college, im away alot of the weekends with the army while most of my mates are stuck in a boring saturday job. I would say though if your planning to go to Uni next year and go down the officer route, join the UOTC. They get to do alot better stuff and and get all the gucci gear.


Book Reviewer

Take the advice of studying for your A-Levels and then joining the UOTC if you are going to university. If not, then speak to your schools career advisor - get a meeting with the Schools Liaison Officer and go on a bunch of Fam Visits with as many Regiments and Corps as possible.

Do not be fooled by hype and false bravado - the only way you will find a home in a Regiment or Corps is by finding out yourself.

That last bit is applicable to whatever you decide to do reagrding the future. Going on Fam Visits is critical for helping you decide where you are going in a future life with the Army if that is what you decide to do.
I also joined at 17 and a wee bit. I won't lie to you, it is hard fitting it in around school/college, and you do feel guilty/pished off when you have to miss a weekend with the lads to revise or do coursework, but you've just got to get on with it. It kills me everytime I have to say 'Sorry Sgt, can't do this weekend, got too much schoolwork' but they understand. I've heard a lot of good and bad things about the UOTC, and having several mates in various ones, I'd say that if you, like me, are planning on gaining a commission after uni, the TA is your best bet, because you get better training, more experience, and the chance to go on tour, which I'll hopefully be doing in my gap year next year. Having said all that, I'd imagine it would really depend on your unit. Mine is great, and I really enjoy my job- it never has been, and never will be a hobby. It might be a bit late to join now though, unless you're planning on taking a gap year. And go Infantry- Be the Best!
Im in the same sort of position as Panoptes, im in the lower sixth and plan to join next year, I phoned my Local TA infantry unit and they said you can join at 17 but prefer you to be 17 and a half, slightly pis*** off that I have to wait till next September :cry:
I joined the TA on the night of my 17th bday which fortunaley fell on a drill night!!! I was attested that night as i'd done all the admin stuff before hand.

I was in lower sixth at school and was summoned by my headmaster when he found out what i'd done.

I had tried to join slightly younger as 'junior bandsmen' as my unit had an establishment for them but on looking into the regs the min age was 17. It was a real eye-opener!

I loved every min of the TA and transferred to a different unit when i went off to uni...I was army barmy from the age of about 9.

The TA was a bit of a distraction from my studies, however, i passed RCB at 18 and secured an Army Bursary so i pretty much loafed from then on in....

Joined at 17 (lower sixth), big pay rise at 17 1/2, paid for my driving lessons and many beer tokens. Didn't get in the way at all. Was a laugh, I was dating a CND member at the time and she'd been at Greenham Common - so had many of the PSI's - she was also considering joining the Army.......

Moving to a new unit for university was a little difficult, they were from a small city and a bit insular, didn't help I was from 3 'Scab' N&D Bn and they were 8 NUM Bn
I joined at seventeen as a bandsman, now a year and nine months on I can say it's the best thing I ever did, especially now transfering to medics while at uni. As long as you don't let it take over your studies and not become an army anorak and bore your mates you'll do well, and all the rumours that will fly round school when you're doing training weekends are a treat, I lost count of how many "We heard you got shot" texts I got one weekend.

As was said before, family, job (studies) then TA should be priority, and as the family should be able to look after itself you've no excuse.
Do it.

I joined the London Jocks at 17 in '77 , and the Regular Army as soon as I left school 18 months later and passed RCB.

It was brilliant - good mates, good training for RMAS (or any other training) and a superb Regiment I can always connect to.

Do your best for your A Levels but frankly it made no difference to me
(two 'E's were all I was going to get anyway!)

University - what's that?
Goku said:
You can join the TA when you’re 17 and a half.
Party line straight from the AFCO 5

Age on application - 17, age on entry is dependant on service and specialisation. The only ones that I know of that are different are them and that is 18
Im assuming you are thinking of 2 R IRISH? if you are looking into joining the unit i think you are, the OC is a friend of mine, ex regular, and is currently currently doing another very interesting job full time.

I can not speak highly enough about the individual, and if he runs his TA unit anything like he ran his regular Coy, you will be in a god mob.

go on join up. you know you want to.

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