Reserve going full time regular/Para's/RM's age limits?

#1
Hi all

I am 34 and seriously considering joining the forces but I am only able to apply for a reserve role due to my age if I want to be a combat soldier (I have no previous military experience).

I wondered, is it at all possible or has anyone heard of it happening for an older reservist to be taken on as a full time regular if they show exceptional attitude/fitness? I would like to join as a full time regular but cannot due to my age but part of me wonders whether if joining as a reserve and then (hopefully) proving myself as a worthy soldier you might be offered a full time role?

I also wondered why there is such a difference between the Royal Marines reserve age limit which is 33 years and the Para's which is 40? I though't that the both of them were very similar in regards to physical fitness requirements etc?

Cheers guys
 
#2
Without trying to sound to demeaning how do you think that will happen? You can't really be talent spotted into full time training.

You will be able to undertake a FTRS where you can serve full time as a reservist but this may only be for a few years, you'll still be a reservist.

If getting they green lid is your aim then have a look at 131 (Reserve) Commando Squadron Royal Engineers.
 
#3
Bluntly: A bit late to be considering a career in uniform isn't it? People tend to be in something by the time they are 21. At age 34 they are well experienced professionals with some rank - look across to a civvy career requiring around 2 to 3 years training and where is someone at age 34?

Realistically: If you have been bought up from your teen's to early 20's with beastings, physical exertion and the scrapes and dings of running around the ulu you tend to weather it better in your 30's and 40's. Then I hear the retort of "Yes I know what hard work is"; no, in all honesty you don't. Go put on a heavy uniform, then put on around 20 Kgs of kit, pick up a 4 Kg rifle, put on a helmet, then get it all wet and go on a 20 mile march followed by an assault course, then dig a hole to sleep in, cook your food, do a guard at 03.00hrs and stand to at 4.30hrs - then repeat for a week whilst intermitently being attacked, or attacking and in both cases having the crap kicked out of you.

Best advice: The RAF Police Reserve take people into their 50's, get some dirt on someone, or do some favours for people and you can even go off and do the RAF para course. Alternatively go and become a Special Constable, or even a Constable, with your local county force........it does get very interesting at times. If you are in an early mid-life crisis and desperately feel the need to try to be shot at then the Foreign Legion may offer you some opportunity

Joining at 34, whilst a commendable notion, after a long life as a civvy, will just about kill you - I don't care how many marathons you run, or how often you go down the gym, it is not the same.
 
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Sarastro

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#4
Hi all

I am 34 and seriously considering joining the forces but I am only able to apply for a reserve role due to my age if I want to be a combat soldier (I have no previous military experience).

I wondered, is it at all possible or has anyone heard of it happening for an older reservist to be taken on as a full time regular if they show exceptional attitude/fitness? I would like to join as a full time regular but cannot due to my age but part of me wonders whether if joining as a reserve and then (hopefully) proving myself as a worthy soldier you might be offered a full time role?

I also wondered why there is such a difference between the Royal Marines reserve age limit which is 33 years and the Para's which is 40? I though't that the both of them were very similar in regards to physical fitness requirements etc?
It is possible, and it has happened. A mate did what you describe, but he was previously a professional athlete, still very fit, and essentially gave up his previous life to commit totally to the Army. In other words, the likelihood is on the level of planning to become a pop star by going to a Pop Idol audition.

@Effendi is quite right. You have most probably left it too late to develop the kind of weight-bearing fitness you need, which simply takes time while doing it. Nobody really needs or wants a 40 year old private soldier, least of all your knees. The chance of you getting an FTRS or being drafted into the Regulars as a private soldier with no experience is, if not exactly zero, certainly quite close to zero.

Additionally, bear in mind that these days the recruitment process takes anywhere up to 12 months to simply get you in Phase 1 training, then 6-12 months to get you through Phase 1 & 2 and be a trained soldier. That takes you to 36 if you started tomorrow.

Either you are the kind of person who is going to ignore all this and do it anyway, or you will be put off by reality. If you go for it, cool - that is the only way you have any hope at all - but be aware that your probable failure rate is extremely high. Don't make any plans on the assumption it will work out.

If you do go for it, be very honest about how fit you are right now. In your training can you meet the Para / RM entry or pass standards (so far as you can tell)? Whatever the published standards, to have a good chance of passing the physical bits of both courses you want to be doing the below:

80 situps in 2 mins
80 pushups in 2 mins
8 full pullups
1.5 miles in under 9 minutes 30 seconds
3 miles in under 21 minutes
5 miles in under 40 minutes

Anything over that and you are a risk case, and at your age you can't afford to be a risk case. If you are well below that at present, I'd knock the whole idea on the head. You will need to be above average fitness from the start, not just for credibility, but to avoid injury etc.

FINALLY...be aware that even regular combat soldiers don't really see any combat in the 2018 British Army. If you are mostly looking to get shot at, the chances of it happening - even if you pass training - are very slim.

PS The age differences are just policy differences between the RN and Army. Para Reg have to work to the general Army policy, the RM get to dictate their own joining policy in a bit more detail, because they are a unique bit of the Navy. RM have less problem recruiting than the Army do. The fitness standards are roughly the same, but P Company has relatively more speed events and the Commando Course relatively more endurance events.
 
#5
Many thanks for all your replys, greatly appreciated and some really helpful advice.

Yes unfortunately I have left things very late due to being a pretty overweight indivdual for most my life (floating between 18 - 19 stone), and bad habits of binge drinking etc. But recently I have managed to get my act together and lose the weight (now 12 stone 12 lbs) and have a good level of fitness (in the civ world).


If getting they green lid is your aim then have a look at 131 (Reserve) Commando Squadron Royal Engineers.
Thanks, will look into it.
If you are in an early mid-life crisis and desperately feel the need to try to be shot at then the Foreign Legion may offer you some opportunity
Yeah I guess you could call it an early mid life crisis to be fair! Normal story of being fed up with work, boring routines etc and feeling the need to make something out of myself.

Additionally, bear in mind that these days the recruitment process takes anywhere up to 12 months to simply get you in Phase 1 training, then 6-12 months to get you through Phase 1 & 2 and be a trained soldier. That takes you to 36 if you started tomorrow.
That's interesting, had no idea it took so long.
If you do go for it, be very honest about how fit you are right now. In your training can you meet the Para / RM entry or pass standards (so far as you can tell)? Whatever the published standards, to have a good chance of passing the physical bits of both courses you want to be doing the below:

80 situps in 2 mins
80 pushups in 2 mins
8 full pullups
1.5 miles in under 9 minutes 30 seconds
3 miles in under 21 minutes
5 miles in under 40 minutes
Can do the first 3, it's just the running I'd have to work on as I tend to do more strength work than endurance/running etc.

Perhaps as you guys say it would be best to knock the idea of being a para/army infantry on the head as that would be a step too far at my age and look at another less physically demading role. I have noticed that the RAF Regiment accepts full time gunners till the age of 36, I'm not sure how different that would be physically going to an army infantry role?

Thanks again to you all for your insight.
 
#6
Yeah I guess you could call it an early mid life crisis to be fair! Normal story of being fed up with work, boring routines etc and feeling the need to make something out of myself.
Well, to be honest most military life is not too different when knocking around a regiment, battalion, garrison, unit during a normal daily routine role.

My advice: Go become a special constable, as long as you have no convictions they will welcome you with open arms and if they like you the offer will come to get you in as a full timer. Then if you really want to trot around with a firearm you apply for the armed response teams.

Additionally go off and do something different at weekends. Go over Snowdonia, Dartmoor, take up cave diving, get over to Madrid for a week and learn to sky dive, learn para gliding, buy an adventure motorcycle and tour europe and north africa, canoe the Lochs, walk Hadrians wall, do the Lyke Wake Walk, Devizes to Westminster canoe race, learn to sail, learn to ski.

You do not need to join the military to do things, you are only limited by your will and imagination.
 
#7
Yes it is doable. It is unusual and isn't a straightforward back door (fnarr) but it's not unheard of.

It sounds to me you have something to prove, that you can 'make the grade'. But what is that grade? If you just want to 'be a soldier' then Reserve infantry units have an upper age limit of about 50 (I did my NCO Cadre alongside a 52-year-old!). If it's about the badge then yes 4 PARA and RMR are more exclusive so attached units such as Engineers (mentioned above) or Medics (144 Sqn?) may interest you.

As for transferring from Reserves to Regulars then it is doable. I know a bloke who joined the Reserves in his mid-thirties. Now late-thirties he's transferring into the regulars. How? Well he's a hardworking switched on bloke who got himself corporal-qualified in just three years. He was made redundant so got a short-term FTRS posting last year. He proved himself as a competent section commander and asked about extending his FTRS contract. After some negotiating, both parties were happy for him to transfer permanently.

So it's doable. But that's a line infantry battalion and he's a very good soldier. The PARAs and RM are going to be more difficult because they are much more rigourous and exclusive in their recruitment.

Get yourself into your local reserve infantry unit ASAP would be my advice. There are plenty of FTRS postings about (even as a private soldier - many infantry battalions are struggling with retention).
 
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#8
If it isn't about being a soldier but about being in uniform and doing a job you can be proud of then it may be worth investigating the auxiliary emergency services: special constable (as above), ambulance community first responder or retained duty fire service.

If you combine one of those with weekends as an infantry reservist (difficult to juggle with sports/hobbies/kids/family?) I'm sure you'd be feeling you're getting a lot more out of life.
 
#9
It sounds to me you have something to prove, that you can 'make the grade'.
Yes I do certainly feel like I have something to prove. If I could go back I would apply for the RM as a commando then I would but engineers is something that could interest me.

As for transferring from Reserves to Regulars then it is doable. I know a bloke who joined the Reserves in his mid-thirties. Now late-thirties he's transferring into the regulars. How? Well he's a hardworking switched on bloke who got himself corporal-qualified in just three years.
That's really interesting to hear, about the same age as me then.

So it's doable. But that's a line infantry battalion and he's a very good soldier. The PARAs and RM are going to be more difficult because they are much more rigourous and exclusive in their recruitment.
Yes I think as mentioned above I think me making it as a para or marine is almost certainly only a pipe dream for me now but good to hear that there are blokes who started out in their mid 30's and still managed to get into the army infantry.

Like you say the best thing would be to get into the reserves as quickly as possible. I am a very fit indivdual but as someoned mentioned above being "civvie fit" ie smashing runs and gym sessions on 8 hours sleep and wearing nice trainers is very different to army fitness of 10 mile runs in wet gear and boots.[/QUOTE]
 
#10
If you really want to get in full time, there are currently FTRS roles for Infantry, I would join your local STAB unit asap, and as soon as you are out of Phase 2 and apply for a position with the regulars.

Ignore everyone who says you've left it too late, I know plenty of 20 year olds who can't run a mile and I know 40 year olds who can run a mile in 5 minutes.
 

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