Careers in the armed forces don’t simply involve engineering or combat operations; many people work in vital administrative positions, which enable the UK’s armed forces to function in the most effective way possible.
These support staff work in many different areas, from human resources, project management, I.T. and accountancy to admin, storage and security.
Administrative officers in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy are responsible for managing teams of administrative support staff.
Essentially, they take on the role of a project manager: monitoring budgets, dealing with problems when they arise, training junior staff, acting as a team leader, building relationships with external suppliers, managing procurement activities and overseeing recruitment processes.
Administrative officers may sometimes also be engaged in field operations, where they will oversee a range of administrative processes and procedures, such as the registration of prisoners and the notification of families in the event of death or injury.
Salary & benefits
As a graduate officer you’ll receive a starting salary of around £25,000. Once you’ve fully completed your training, your salary will increase to between £29,000 and £32,000.
You will also receive brilliant extra benefits, including private healthcare and a decent pension.
You may be required to work shifts, so be prepared to work unsociable hours from time to time. The majority of your time will be spent in an office, but, understandably, you may occasionally be required to work in dangerous situations.
Women are not usually placed in direct combat roles, but, for the most part, female officers are given the same responsibility as male officers.
Officers in the armed forces are typically required to relocate every few years. This might mean moving across the UK or even internationally.
The minimum entry requirements for officer training include: a good degree in any discipline, a minimum of 180 UCAS points at A-level (not including general studies) and GCSEs in mathematics and English language.
You do not need any work experience before applying, but it may help your chances if you have previously expressed an interest in the armed forces by joining a squadron of cadets or the Territorial Army (TA) at school or university.
You will also need high standards of fitness, since part of the assessment process will involve physical tests.
Training & progression
Initial officer training is provided by the academies of the respective armed forces, i.e. at Sandhurst (Military), Cranwell (RAF) and Dartmouth (Navy).
Initial officer training is completed over a period of 11 months. Following this, you will undertake specialist training within the specific regiment that you join.
Certain officers, based on performance and adequate experience, are selected for senior command and staff positions after completing specialist training at the Joint Services Command and Staff College.