Questions Before Signing-up First Time

I've read ARRSE before but never actually had to post, I'm 18 and I've been looking at joining the reserves to fill in my spare time (My college BTEC Architecture course is only Mon/Tue and my gf is flexible).
I'm down in Dorset and am lucky to have many facilities close by (Bovington camp etc) but I don't have a recruitment centre nearby so I thought I could get some good answers here (and save a drive!).

1. I'm currently about 1/9 through my 2 year course, after that it is likely that I'll either take a gap year and/or spend a considerable time at uni. If I joined the reserves now would I be expected to serve for a miniumum number of years etc (worried that I won't have the free time in the future/will not fit in and want to leave)

2. How are training days selected, I know each unit will have their own times but I was wondering if you choose them or get allocated them (and if so what if they're on my college days????)
Also what about the 2 week training/camp slots (flexible or are they always during summer holidays etc)

3. Currently I don't have enough UCAS points to be an officer however at the end of the year I will have around 80 (if they count my AS-Levels) and by the end of my course my BTEC gives me something like 160 points. I have very good GCSE grades as well as lots of extra-curriculars, if I joined now would I then be able to re-enlist for AOSB or will I have to/is it better to simply be selected for promotion (ie how hard is it to be selected to go away for training for Tank Commander for example?)

4. I read somewhere that transport is provided by your unit? Any confimations/clarifications on that (especially if I have to get a train across the country 4 times a year)

5. Any suggestion for roles? I have ruled out some engineering etc roles due to colourblindness (need to get a score on the lantern test to be sure how severe), I am interested in Tank Crew, Infantry (with a trade/skill to get more out of it) or something that you yourself would reccommend?

6. Last but not least, do people enlist and everyone in a unit starts training in blocks or do you do your sessions individually (start as soon as you join or do you wait until a specified date to begin with everyone else etc, helps give me a timeframe for me to get off my butt and exercise more hehe)

Sorry for the text wall, all answers appreciated thanks :)


I'm not going to answer all your questions, but give you an overall view. The Reserves are voluntary. You attend when you want to - training nights, weekends, two week camp. People can manage different levels of commitment, but it is absolutely understood that most Reservists have the following life priority list:

1. Family
2. Civvy job
3. Reserves

Some Reservists manage dozens (or even hundreds) of days a year. Others struggle to fit in the minimum commitment to achieve their Annual Bounty (that's a tax-free lump sum, not a chocolate bar).

You can claim for travel to and from your unit, within certain criteria. Any travel to e.g. remote training camps, your training courses, will be arranged by the Reserves. You get yourself to your Army Reserve Centre, and they arrange transport to your required destination e.g. minibuses.

Lastly, people join individually throughout the year, but for obvious reasons are grouped together for training courses etc. As for fitness - you can't be too fit, so might as well get started now. Being fit will certainly make your life easier - one less thing to worry about.

Hope this helps.
1. Unsure.

2. Depends on Unit, give them a call.

3. Rather large difference between Reg Officer, and Reservist NCO. Also at last check they did not accept AS Levels, cannot find the requirements page since all the recruiting stuff moved onto its own website.

4. Having a similar issue to youself, called the Unit I plan to join and was told there is an allowance for travel expenses, and transport to training is organised by your Unit. Give them a call.

5. Figure out what you want, generally Inf will not have a trade to gain. I started by seeing what was within reaching distance. No point on having your heart set on SCOTS if you live in Devon.

6a. There is the ability to complete a consolidated P1 Course or have it over a number of weekends, they are run reasonably regularly, just get your application etc done ASAP, as I now have to wait 6 Months before I can begin P1 due to only the two Cadres happening per year.
6b. Go running, why not? Don't use a time frame as an excuse, better to have an excess than too little.

All should be answerable by the unit if you give them a call.

Correct me if I am wrong as limited experience just a ton of research.


Snapper 25

1. You can leave at any time.

2. Phase 1 training consists of a 4 weekend or 1 week alpha and then a 16 day bravo. They are held all the way through the year so it's very flexible. You just find the course that fits.
3. you could just join as a soldier and apply to go officer when you have the qualifications.
4. transport is paid up to a certain distance.
5. look at what units you have near and go visit.
6. You may or may not train with other recruits from your unit. Just depends on how many recruits three are.

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