Son wanting to join the Army

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Soldier Recruitment' started by concernedmum, Mar 17, 2008.

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  1. Hi
    My brother (ex Army) suggested I posted this question to try and get some sensible advice.

    My son (13.5) has wanted to join the Army for some time, with Ross Kemp in Afghanistan and the recent program with regards to new recruits to the Commandos on TV he has become more determined. My problem is that I have already lost one son to illness, and with casualty ratios of 1 in 9 I am very anti him joining.

    I have now realised the more negative I am the more attractive joining up seems to be so I have now said that if, IF, he does join then he is to get decent qualifications behind him so he can learn a trade / skill and not just enter at the most basic level. He has to take his options this month and one of his options he wants to take is PE – (as his friends have told him that this is a basic requirement to enable him to sign up.) Personally I have said it is a wasted subject and he can do sports afterschool to maintain his fitness levels.

    The services seem to be under paid, under equipped and under manned – do you really feel that it is something that can be recommended to a young person of today? If so what subjects do you feel he ought to take to enable him to have an option as to his career path within the army? Any advice gratefully received.
  2. (deleted by user due to sudden attack of conscience)
  3. I would thoroughly recommend anyone joining today. The equipment issue is hopefully rapidly becoming something of the past, and the pay is not that bad (better than being on the dole)

    It would depend on what trade/job your lad would like to do as to what options he is looking at, but a general all round education wont see him wrong. I appreciate you have already lost a son, but do you want to smother your other one for your own sake? He has a life to lead, so let him live it. Most off us scrape by and make it out the other side after 22 years and although I haven't enjoyed every single second, I would do it all over again.

    Why don't you have a look at what trades/jobs are on offer - you might be pleasantly surprised
  4. Let's get the first question out of the way; more service personnel die in road traffic accidents than on operations. Sad. I am sorry about the loss of one son; that must have been devastating.

    Is the Army right for your son? Only he, and you, can answer that. If he is likely to thrive in a disciplined environment where he will receive as much training as he desires, and someone will guide him through his career - and it will be a career, if he so chooses, then let him join the Army. Have you thought about the alternatives to the Army?

    As for his school qualifications, you haven't identified his academic prowess, but he should aim as high as he can in maths, English and the sciences. If he is academically inclined, then he might consider studying for his A Levels, then applying to be sponsored through University and then through Sandhurst.

    If you browse this site, there is a whole range of advice in the Training forum. Just avoid the NAAFI; which is guaranteed to put you off the Army for life - but we are all basically nice and cuddly and we all love our Mums...honest :D :D :D

  5. Why not go on the Army Jobs page and have a look at the job specs, as these will be able to tell you what subjects your son will need to take.

    As for the PE thing is mates are wrong.
  6. GCSE PE isn't a basic requirement that i've heard of, the only trades that have requirements for soldier entry are the techie types which tend to require subjects like maths, sciences and perhaps english. As for PE being a wasted subject, i personally did A-S level PE and its harder and more technical than it sounds.
    What i'd suggest is going down to the local recruiting office (i'd probably say with your son) and chatting to someone who really does know what all the entry requirements and options are. Your son can then put across what he wants from the army to the recruiter and you'll be there to ask all the right questions. I'm sure recruiters are well used to chatting to concerned parents.
  7. Concernedmum
    My daughter has always expressed wanting to join the army from the age of 11. She had a count down from that age until she could join the Cadets at 12 and nagged me into getting her in from the day of her birthday. She turned 14 in December and has just now taken her options for September and the first thing she done when her options were through was to make her Dad take her to the Army Careers office to ask them what options she should take for the career she wants in the Army (yep she even has that worked out, must take after my parents). They were brilliant and advised her on what she should choice for her chosen profession.
    I would strongly suggest you take your lad over to the Army careers office and have a chat as they have been fantastic with my girl.
  8. First off concernedmum, he is 13. He has a fair bit of time to get interested in something else.

    However, to ease your concerns, hopefully.

    I understand your worry about losing a child, and then another one. And I am certainly not going to make any false promises that he would be alright. The Armed Forces do have a certain amount of danger and risk built in to the job. I am sure you appreciate this, but make sure he does.

    I feel a visit to an ACIO (even at this early stage) would not be wasted. Recruiters can give him an idea of what trades are available and what subjects he should ask for. Trust me, they aren't going to expect him to join. :p

    Advise him, Fcuk it, get him to come on ArRSe for direct advice, to pick subjects he is interested in, and to think about getting a bit of exposure to the Army. Have you an Army Cadets near by?

    Don't try to block him, as you say, he may just decide he will join to spite you. Give him the knowledge to make an informed choice. If he is mechanically minded he may like REME, or maybe the Royal Engineers if he wouldn't mind a bit of construction work.

    If he is a good linguist, he may like the Int Corps.

    Have a look around with him, for ideas.

    Make sure he realises that ALL Corps' and services are likely to be involved in "firefights and warry stuff". The Infantry are the only ones who go looking for them!!! Partly to warn him, partly because it is this that probably attracts him. He's young, he's allowed to be a little stupid :D

    Tell him now. From a Serving soldier, that PE is not a required qualification for the Army. His mates are talking rubbish. I wouldn't say it is a wasted subject, if he wants to go in to Physical Training Instructor this could be beneficial. Although to be honest there are probably better subjects to study. And if he went PTI, the Army Physical Training Corps Instructors will give him all the knowledge he needs and then some!!!

    If he is fit, and active in sports out of class, this will probably stand him in good stead.

    Has he got any ideas what he may want to do in the Army?

    The Infantry is not the no hope, no prospect job many people believe it is. There ARE skills and trades inside the Infantry that your son can move on to, once he has served his time in a Rifle Company. Also, now adays the chances of retrading to different jobs and even in to different services are high.

    Under paid, equipped and manned? You'll find the pay isn't that bad, especially when you factor in pension and other perks. Likewise, it is pretty steady pay. He get's paid no matter watch. Unless he is jailed.

    He will also receive £200 a year (every year) to spend on courses to better himself. He will also receive three £1000 sums to spend on more expensive courses, which goes up to £2000 each after 7 years of service. This is not cash payment, but he can claim them.

    He will also receive a large amount of training free.

    Equipment. We always whinge about haveing no kit. In SOME cases this lack is real, in many others it is more what we would like to have, or others believe we should have.

    It's not like the TV shows either.

    He needs to expect a few months of dull duties aswell as "excitement".
    Undermanned. Not that bad.

    The tabloids make much of the three above subjects.

    Other sites of interest.
  9. If you're (son) is looking at trades the looking at Welbeck 6th form college may be a good idea.
    And in regards to PE, some of my friends are currently doing it at AS level, its not just runing around, they also learn alot about human anatomy and physiology. Ask his PE teachers what they're course is like.
  10. IMO, don't bother with PE. Whatever others may say, it is a soft subject and of little use in most cases. If you are looking to give him options later in his life/career, then surely at least 1 life science (eg Biology) and 1 other science like physics will set him in good stead for a career in the army, providing of course he gets Cs!

    With Biology - he can join the RAMC if that is what he wants to do. Physics is useful if he wants to join the more technical trades like Air Tech, VM, etc.

    In short, if he wants to join the army as a soldier and he wants as much options as possible, then he should Get GCSEs in English, Maths, and 2 sciences.
  11. Tell him not to fcuk about in his lessons too.

    He should be striving to get the best possible scores for English, Maths and the Sciences.

    These are the basic quals for the Army. Contray to popular beleive we are not illiterate imbeciles who can't count!!!!

    If he doesn't meet a particular standard, but is still allowed in, he WILL have to study for them in his own time when in. Or simply not be promoted.

    An Infantry patrol will right reports on what they have seen and done when they return.
  12. A big, open-ended question. A lot depends on what your lad might be interested in doing and his aptitude for certain things. Remember it's not just about the artisan trades (RE, REME, Sigs etc.). If he has a flair for languages or analytical thinking, then maybe the Int Corps might suit him better. In fact, to a large extent, the army, RN and RAF are societies in miniature. There are doctors, lawyers, builders, mechanics, chefs, phone repair men, accountants, pilots, teachers, logisticians, air traffic controllers etc. etc. If you can dream up a job in civvy strasse, you can normally find a uniformed equivalent.

    You can also tell him that there are usually plenty of opportunities to do the boys' own stuff, no matter which area he chooses to specialise in. The RM rely on the army for engineer and artillery support and the Airborne Brigade isn't just about the Paras. It includes specialised artillery, logistics, signals and engineer units. If that's not enough, if he's keen enough and has his wits about him, UK Special Forces recruit from all over the 3 services.

    A lot of trades don't require formal qualifications but he shouldn't think that the rest of school can be considered killing time until he can jog up to the careers office. It is true that you don't necessarily have to be sharpest knife in the drawer a lot of the time but (as others have said) there are standards to be met at some points or your career doesn't progress. He can either do it now, when he has the time and the space, or he can do it later, thus having to miss out on the social stuff and the more fun courses etc.

    You should tell him all the armed forces hold a lot of stock in putting forth your best effort. If he tries his best and only comes up with one or two quality GCSEs then fair enough, but if he arses about and doesn't apply himself then the very least he can expect is a BIG culture shock when he finally shows up the night before "Day One, Week One". If he has his eye on one of the more competitive trades/branches of the armed forces, then he's going to be in for a disappointment from the start. It's better to get him in the habit early of cracking on with the stuff he might not enjoy so much, because there's going to be plenty of that when the time comes.

    A GCSE in PE really is about as much use as the proverbial "t1ts on a fish". Nobody needs to be qualified to run around in circles- unless he wants to be a gym queen (Physical Training Instructor) and then he'd have to do the army course, whether he has the GCSE or not. Getting in on organised sports is considered a big plus when you join up, especially team sports. Properly supervised, he'll learn all he needs about getting fit, staying fit and how to mimimise the risk of injury there.

    Lastly, just take him down to the local office to get some info. At under 14, the staff won't be trying to push him into anything in particular direction just to help plug a shortfall.

    For all their shortcomings and drawbacks (not least being shot at) wherever your lad decides to go in the armed forces, he will receive the very best training available anywhere. (There are even chances go to university while Her Majesty pays the bills. A friend of mine with the Royal Signals went to university, still in his early 20s, as a Lt/Capt. He lived as a student for 3 years, just one who drew a £30k+ salary and didn't pay any tuition.) When he's finished playing silly buggers in green/blue he'll have a much more dedicated work ethic than his civvy counterparts, a wealth of experiences that he won't get anywhere else and friends that last a lifetime.
  13. concernedmum, I am a 16 year old GCSE student who wants to join the army. I am studying GCSE PE, History, Philosophy and Ethics and Catering (as the Resistant Materials teacher left due to illness so we had to transfer course)

    My first visit to a recruiting office was at age 10. I think you should take your son to one as the recruiters there will be able to give you lots of advice on what to do trade-wise and will be able to give him valuable help in researching his career paths.

    You said you want him to have a trade. Remember that it is his career. He may enjoy having a trade, however, he may also feel forced into it and hate every minute. My parents tried to force me to want to be an Engineer. I soon realised however that I am not an engineer and that - when given the option at career days etc - I always gravitate towards the Infantry. Talk to your son about this and ask him what (and why) he wants to do as a career.

    As for GCSE's PE, it is not a soft option (it is not a required element either). It will give your son several things:
    - Ability to stay fit
    - Ability to know his physical limits when exercising
    - Ability to plan his own training program to suit him
    - Ability to treat sporting injuries (applicable to non-sporting)
    - Ability to take part in the 'Junior Sports Leaders Award' (not all schools - ask at yours).

    The Junior Sports Leaders Award is something I have done. You go out to local schools and teach PE. This is looked upon very favourably by both normal employers and the army.

    Even if he does gravitate towards basic infantry soldier, continue to get him to try to achieve good grades.

    I would also highly recommend that you take him to the nearest cadet unit as this will give him the chance to try out a wide range of army skills (I have learnt about Infantry, Engineers, Army Air Corps, Intelligence Corps, Logistic, Signals and the Navy through the Army Cadets). It will also mean that he can talk to cadet instructors who are often ex-military and can give him an honest idea of life in the forces.
  14. Are those the only subjects you are studying? Please tell me you are you doing the core subjects like maths, english and sciences on top of that!
  15. Mazur_UK,

    At the risk of being "wahhed", what on earth are "Resistant Materials"??