From memory (it is four years since I worked in a careers advice capacity and someone more current would need to confirm or deny this) if you want to do a 6th form scholoarship, especially with the aim of going on to do Officer training, then you need to do A levels. NVQ's, ND, etc will not be accepted, no matter what they are supposed to be equivalent to. 'Supposed' being the key word - I saw too many people who simply were not at the same level as an A level student would have been and I can't imagine the situation has improved. Sorry to be blunt, but I also came across too many people who had been given the wrong advice and had dreams/plans crushed.
If I remember correctly, the International Baccalaureate is accepted as an A level alternative.
Perhaps Disco or someone similar can give more up-to-date advice?
The IB is offered by some schools and probably some colleges. You take six subjects and a couple of other bits (theory of knowledge exam and an extended essay). YOu do three subjects at higher level and three at standard level, with each subject giving you a maximum of seven points. The three for ToK and the essay add up to a grand total of 45, which almost nobody gets.
My school did both, so I know the difference between the two. If you are academically minded and want a range of subjects including maths, english, a science and alanguage plus a couple then do IB. If you want to specialise then do A-level. Most A-levles are a bit harder than their IB higher equivalent with a few exceptions (Maths, Chemistry and Physics. although further maths is harder than Higher IB maths). If you just want the grades to become an officer then do A-level. If you really enjoy academia and want a qualification that you can use in the USA (for example) then do IB.
I chose A-levels as I needed to specialise get into medical school, and I spent most of my time in VI form laughing at the guys juggling a much larger number of subjects.
Depends where you do it I guess. I'm not sure what the state sector provision is like (I was at a public school) but I suspect that most places that offer it will be selective comprehensives and gramar schools and will therefore be competetive.
You may not be aware of the Further Education Bursary Scheme, (at this link):
The aim of the scheme is to help young adults in the 16-32 age group prepare for a career in the Army. This new initiative financially rewards students for attending College, completing a relevant vocational qualification and pursuing a career in the Army at the end of their time at college. The scheme will support learners who are undertaking full Level 2 programmes in a range of occupational sectors, such as Engineering, Construction, Catering, ICT, Administration, Sport and Public Services, as well as other areas where the Army have skills needs. The scheme is also available to a certain number of learners enrolled on Level 3 programmes.