career: Military

What's it all about

A job in the military is hard to define, because there are so many different roles and sectors with in it. You could be in the navy or in the Air Force. You could be an engineer or one of the people on the front line with the armed forces. It all depends on what you want to do. But whatever that is, you don’t always need a degree to do it.

Being in the military has built a reputation for being an amazing way to build your self confidence, have new experiences, make life long friends and gain invaluable skills that can be applied throughout your life.

Jobs in the Military vary in type of work and responsibility, yet each is essential to accomplishing the overall mission of defending our country. Every member of the military, no matter what role they play, is vital to the overall team and they’re always valued. It’s important that you choose the role for you carefully and with consideration – the training is extensive and you want to choose something you know you can excel in!

What could I be doing 

What could I be doing

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Airforce
  • National Guard
  • Engineering
  • Armed forces
  • IT support

Routes in

For almost every role in the military, there is an apprenticeship programme. Not only will you be training on the job, but you’ll be paid for doing so. You can start an apprenticeship in most roles on off as a school leaver when you’re 16, so you don’t have to have A-levels isn’t for you either.

For the armed forces and serviceman roles, there’s training programmes that last a number of weeks. The intense training is a true test of character and will see how you could handle the job in reality.

When it comes to the more specific areas in the military such as engineering and medical jobs, you still need to go through this training and then take on a specific apprenticeship. Whether that’s an apprenticeship in engineering or communication, you will be trained on the job and earn money as you do. For some of the more technically challenging roles such as a nuclear engineer role, and undergraduate degree is often required. However, there are still many opportunities for young school leavers to start their career with the military.

What skills will I need 

What skills will I need

  • Confidence
  • Team work
  • Ability to think quickly
  • Problem solving
  • Endurance
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Physically fit

Been there, done that

We spoke to Daniel, 24, from Aldershot:

Daniel Lee Holden is a Lance Corporal in 160 Provost Company, 4th Regiment Royal Military Police. Before joining the Army he had a number of GCSEs and a certificate in security guarding. He decided to join the Army after visiting his local Army careers office. Daniel said:

“I was really impressed with what the Army was able to offer me and my family. It provides job security, good pay, opportunities for promotion and courses that that can advance your career both in the Army and in civilian life. For example, my Army apprenticeship will give me a Level 3 Diploma in Defence Policing, which is recognised in the Armed Forced and in civvy life.

The married quarters that are provided was also a big selling point for me. My wife and I talked everything through and decided that I should join; she was very supportive and we both thought a career in the Army would provide a better life for our daughter. My advice to those who are interested in joining the Army is to look at the huge number of job roles that are available. You’ll be surprised by the range of careers that are on offer and the amazing things that you will be able to do in the Army.”

Charlotte Cox Training for a Level 3 NVQ in Work Based Animal Care  

Charlotte Cox Training for a Level 3 NVQ in Work Based Animal Care

Melton Mowbray soldier, Corporal Charlotte Cox, 27, is training for a Level 3 NVQ in Work Based Animal Care. Before joining the Army she had attained a number of GCSEs, but was keen to increase her skills and qualifications. She said: “I’ve become a lot more confident, outgoing and disciplined since working on my Army apprenticeship. My NVQ in Work Based Animal Care is highly valued in the Army and is also recognised by civilian companies. So, it’s reassuring to know that the training I’m receiving is for life, not just the Army.

I always wanted to work with animals in the military so this apprenticeship is perfect for me.” The Army has given Charlotte the chance to travel the world – she was chosen to take part in the Longlook Exchange Programme, which involved spending four months working with the New Zealand Defence Force. This is something she would never have had the opportunity to do without her Army apprenticeship. Charlotte was also chosen as an ambassador for the British Army’s apprenticeship programme, helping to raise public awareness that the Army has the largest employer apprenticeship scheme in the UK. Around 7,000 Army apprentices are set to complete their training this year alone, and around 18,000 are currently going through the Army’s apprenticeship programmes.

Expert opinion

Q & A with the Army

We had the pleasure of conducting a Q&A with the Army and made some remarkable discoveries. The Army has the largest apprenticeship programme in the country, with about 95 per cent of new soldiers taking part and over 8,000 completing their apprenticeship training each year. There are over 200 roles available in the Army including more than 40 apprentice schemes in a wide range of trades.

Army apprenticeships are part of a nationally recognised scheme, giving soldiers the chance to work for an employer at the same time as studying for a relevant, work-based qualification.

Best of all, they offer ongoing support and excellent pay, starting from £18,125, and benefits that mean you take home more in your pocket.

How long has the army been offering apprenticeships?

Since around 2000 and before that we offered NVQs How many apprenticeships do you offer per year? In which industry sectors? 98 per cent of soldiers who join up enrol onto an apprenticeship programme – that’s approximately 11,000 per year. The Army offers apprenticeship in the fields of Health / Public Services, Engineering, ICT/Telecommunications, Logistics, Construction, Animal Care and Professional Catering

Do you offer different levels of apprenticeships?

Yes, the Army offers apprenticeships from L2 Intermediate Apprenticeships to L4 Higher Apprenticeships

How many apprentices go on to get a full time position? What is the typical length of career at your organisation?

The Army recruits soldiers and offers them a full time position provided they achieve the training standards. A soldier may serve for between 4 years and 22 years (or even longer)


How do you market your apprenticeships? How do applicants apply?

  • Advertising: TV & radio campaigns currently running feature apprenticeship messages
  • National and regional events
  • Presentations in schools

What about limits on age or background?

We welcome people from all backgrounds, origin or religious belief, there’s a place for you in the Army. You must be at least 15 years and 7 months to apply to join the Army. If you are over 17 when you join, you’ll go straight into Army Phase 1 training. You must be in Phase 1 training before your 33rd birthday.

Do you offer any additional internal training?

Lots! In addition to trade training, the Army offers a wealth of other educational and training opportunities from Level 1 to Level 7 and soldiers can gain degrees and membership of professional bodies through the training and experience gained during service.

What about additional benefits and services?

Competitive pay / 6 weeks paid leave / Travel / Annual financial ‘credits’ to support training

  •  Job boards – such as with the NAS
  •  Bespoke content on social media
  • PR – for instance supporting National Apprenticeship Week


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