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Public Sector & Defence careers

Armed Forces

Why get into the armed forces?

So you want to mix it with Ice Man and be the Top Gun? Or perhaps you think you'd have done a better job tracking down Private Ryan or hunting the Red October? Maybe you just want to roll around with Ross Kemp in the desert? Whatever your motivation or interest, a career in the armed forces is likely to provide you with the kind of adrenaline, excitement and fulfilment that many other professions can only dream of.

How do the British armed forces work? What do they do?

The current tempo and operational intensity of Britain's armed forces and their involvement around the globe has coincided with the growing awakening of the general public to the broad variety of tasks that confront our servicemen and women on a daily basis.

Over the last fifteen years, the armed forces have been involved in a raft of strikingly varied missions; from conventional war-fighting in Iraq and humanitarian interventions in Sierra Leone and Kosovo, through to the ongoing counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.

Each of these missions has incorporated and harnessed the respective capabilities of all three of the front-line services, namely the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, as they look to ensure the security of the United Kingdom and promote its interests, influence and standing abroad.

What options are available in the armed forces?

Any career in the armed forces is governed and shaped by the particular service you join. Within each one, there is a dizzying myriad of roles from which to choose - from a Royal Navy Warfare Officer aboard a ship with a frightening array of firepower at its disposal, an Army Infantry Officer commanding and leading soldiers into action, or the next generation of Royal Air Force Maverick patrolling the skies in the futuristic Eurofighter jet. Every role within the armed forces requires a markedly different skill set and there is a place for everyone: the fitness freak, the nurse, the chef, the engineer, even the odd prince!

With over 185,000 men and women deployed around the globe and over a thousand different roles, the armed forces will provide you with the opportunity to grow and develop new skills that will help you think strategically and perform under the most intense pressure. As an officer in the armed forces, you will be expected to have a good basic level of fitness, a strong sense of adventure and a minimum of two A-levels.

Increasingly, the majority of officers are now undergraduates who have entered their respective Officer Training Academy, be it the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, or the Royal Air Force Academy in Cranwell. At each world-renowned establishment you'll learn how to lead, manage and motivate teams in a number of different situations that will really set you apart. The world is your oyster. As they say in the adverts: “Be the Best."

<span line-height:1.6em"="">If you think you’re in with a fighting chance in this sector then check out the following occupational profiles:

Written by David Harris
Captain in the Welsh Guards