Making the right choices

Hi people,

hopefully posting in the right area? Just generally looking for some advise or insight. I've been to the local careers place today for a meeting but tbh, were of little help. As soon as there was any interest in being an officer was told I would be contacted by other persons and booted out the door.

I was there for 5 mins, expected to be an hr or so.

One of my choices was AAC, now due to my age, 27, would have to go in as an officer. Now if I didn't make it was then looking at the REME Officer.

My original choice was to go as an armourer but seeing as I have a degree etc it seems that I am best off going the officer route.

If I had time on my side would join as an Armourer then when time and opportunity allows, try out as a pilot for AAC as an NCO. Obviously, due to age this isn't an option, there isn't enough time.

My main issue is that I don't want to get stuck with not being able to be hands on but due to my choices I seem to be tied. I understand that I wouldn't be flying all the time but that linked with desk work would be worth it, so would constant hands on being an armourer. I'm just afraid of getting stuck in the middle, no flying and no hands on.
When you say Armourer and hands on do you mean "a member of a military or police force who maintains and repairs small arms and weapons systems"? And so hands on means physically working with weapons in that sense, or do you mean out in in the field getting stuck in hands on?

If your only two options are either flying (for which I think age might be an issue) and Armourer then you might be out of luck, but there are many other avenues to explore. The person they mentioned making contact with you will be an Army Careers Advisor and they will be able to answer a lot of your questions, and also to arrange visits to various parts of the Army. I would reserve judgement until you have spoken to them, and get on some visits, you might (like me) realise that being an officer in REME, Signals, Artillery, Infantry, Armoured etc etc is diverse, interesting and far superior to any office job.


27 is a bit late for AAC. The system from starting out (application) to starting sandhurst generally takes about a year, once you go through applications, AOSB and main board. Then another year at sandhurst, therefore in 2 years you will be 29/30 when you eventually finish applications and training and are eventually ready for flight training. Then it can take another 3 years to train you to fly depending on what you will be flying, which would make you 33 before you are even qualified to fly (estimated).

But good luck to you. Like you say there are lot's of other choices in the army.
Hi, thanks for the replies.

When I said hands on I meant physically working with the weapons although as pointed out there may be other avenues.

Whoever I am seeing next, will decide if I am officer material. Someone who deals with all officer recruitment in the south apparently. Didn't think that was another ACA? I thought that was who I had seen already because they said if I don't make the cut, its back to them to.

Looking at my options, be a Reme Officer also seems an attractive route now.

The ACA said literally aim for the top and go from there, I suppose this is what I am going to find out at the next stop, time isssues etc. He said as long as I'm at RMAS before im 29 there shouldn't be an issue.

We shall see I suppose!


The person you'll be seeing is a ACA(O), the 'O' standing for officer (I know, who'd have thunk it?). As said, he'll be a Colonel and will almost certainly be extremely helpful and informative. Make sure you have everything you want to know set out in clear and intelligent questions before you go. It's not a formal interview but the ACA will be wanting to see you've thought about the role of an officer and why you want to go for it.
Best of luck with your career.


the south west is Brigadier (Retd) Mike Smith I think. Really nice fellow. He will probably ask you a few questions about current army size, why you want to join, and the uk's current spend on defence. If you know these before he asks he will love it. Shows commitment
and for all that info i recomend you get:

The British Army: A Pocket Hand book by Charles Heyman. (obviously the most current available)

bloody dry read but got all the relevant data, and as whodat says shows commitment as who would read it for fun?

I had a good chat with my ACAO in the london recruitment office, it is more of a general conversation than an interview but i did get the feeling they are sounding you out for commitment and motivation from day 1.

relax, be honest and be prepared to spend the next month filling out the most amount of forms you have ever seen!


rallyman_nad - Whodat is correct, Brig M Smith is the ACA(O) for the South West, he is a really great bloke but I think he is off at the minute, but he'll give you a good idea of what to do etc.

As for the AAC, I wouldn't put bets on it mate. Remember almost everyone at Sandhurst will be looking at the AAC, I know I am. The difference is, if you can fly, they'll look at you, if you can't...they won't! So don't expect that one.
Many thanks for the reading info. Does the south east some under the south west office as well?

As for AAC, it was just one of my options. I didn't realise it was that popular though? As long as I do something interesting I'm not bothered, I'm quite happy to go in as an armourer. I'm not money motivated, if I was I would be staying self employed on £30hr. If I don't, then there wasn't much point in joining up, shall do my time and scoot off back to my own businesses.

Time will tell.
very similar but because i do most of my reading up whilst commuting find it easier to use.

that said, wasn't aware of this site, good for my own prep.

slight thread highjack.......but looking on the above site it mentions the pay grades etc, does anyone know what grade you are at sandhurst with a degree and also professional qualification or does not make a difference?

I believe its £15.268 whilst at Sandhurst rising to either £24,133 or most with a degree with get £29,773. Thats on the paperwork they gave me last week.

On the paperwork it just classifies it as degree holder.


rallymad_nad said:
I believe its £15.268 whilst at Sandhurst rising to either £24,133 or most with a degree with get £29,773. Thats on the paperwork they gave me last week.

On the paperwork it just classifies it as degree holder.
The British Army Website lists the officer pay scale as this:

Rank From Rising To
Non Graduate Officer Cadet £15,268
Graduate Officer Cadet / Second Lieutenant £24,133
Lieutenant £29,006.40 £32,061.72
So presumably non graduates start on 15 at RMAS then 24 on commissioning, whereas grads start on 24 at RMAS then 29 on commissioning?


I was actualy going to start a new threat RE Pay Scales for non grads so this is perfect.

Can anyone confirm pay whilst at Sandhurst and upon commisioning for a non grad? In the last week I have been told 4 different amounts...

Edit to add- Also, does anybody know the LOA for an officer in Germany
glad to see i a not the only one who is bloody confused!

from what i can tell it is £24k at sandhurst and then £29k with a degree, glad i got myself into all that debt then.

cheers guys

sorry dirk no idea on the LOA in deutschland.

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