TSR Wiki > Careers > Career Options > A-Z of Careers > Armed Forces

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Want to talk about what a job in the armed forces would be like? Then visit the Armed Forces subforum.
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Visit the British Army or Armed Forces homepages.

What does the Armed Forces involve?

In the last 15 to 20 years, the armed forces – comprising of The Army, The Royal Air Force and The Royal Navy – have increasingly taken on challenging roles all around the globe.

These include:

  • Providing fire cover for areas where firemen went on strike
  • Helping in Humanitarian crises by distributing food and aid packages and restoring water, power and other basic facilities
  • Peacekeeping in potential conflict zones (Kosovo, Cyprus etc)
  • Tackling crime on the worlds oceans (mainly drug or slave related)

In July 2004, the Government announced plans to "modernise" the armed forces. Part of this involves thousands of job cuts in, what the Government calls, a bid to prepare them for their changing role in a modern world.

The paper entitled Delivering Security in a Changing World included:

  • Manpower reductions of 9,500 (1,000 Army, 7,000 RAF and 1,500 RN),
  • Disbandment and amalgamation of several Regiments, Squadrons and other units. This includes:
  • The scrapping of 14 Royal Navy warships,
  • Scrapping of 70 RAF aircraft,
  • Reduction of British infantry battalions from 40 to 36

This was designed to create a more flexible force with which to combat the problems of modern combat operations, however, the timing of the White Paper has been heavily criticized due to already critically over-stretched manpower and the involvement in two major wars in the Middle-East.

Why should I apply for a career in the Armed Forces?

A career in the armed forces can offer a lot of things that a career in mainstream civilian life cannot. Wide ranging travel opportunities; excellent healthcare and pension opportunities; not to mention the obvious respect and satisfaction factor that working in the Armed Forces will afford you.

Training and Applicants

All three services require recruits for any jobs to undergo a medical and fitness test. In many jobs formal qualifications are not required, although academic qualifications can give you a much wider choice of options, including entry at a higher management (Officer) level.

Work experience and insight courses are offered by the services to give you an idea of life in the forces. Other ways to experience this is by one of the Cadet Forces or by taking part in the army's "Gap Year Commission" scheme.

What opportunities are available within the sector?

Opportunities within the Armed Forces are very wide-ranging. Anything is possible, from office-based and catering jobs to much more active roles, such as physical training instructor and diver. You can even enter as a doctor or dentist. Very few jobs are not open to women. Many jobs in the armed forces have comparable jobs in civilian life and will give you the opportunity to get major civilian-recognised qualifications whilst you are serving.

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Further Information

It’s important to be prepared to work overseas, re-locate across the UK as necessary and join for a minimum period (3-4 years).

Case Studies


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