You can start your application to each of the three-armed forces in the UK by visiting an Armed Forces Careers Office which are located all over the country.

These are links to the AFCO website for each of the armed forces in the UK:

Your nearest AFCO will be able to advise you on the best roles for your skills, career, and what to do next.

Armed Forces Careers

If you would like an exciting career then you should consider joining the Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy. You can join straight from school, after graduating or transferring from an existing career.

The UK’s land, air and sea-based armed forces take part in combat, peacekeeping, and humanitarian missions around the world to defend the country and promote its interests.

There are a wide range of career choices available from combat, engineering, medical and logistics depending on your skills, interests, and qualifications.

Army Careers

The Army recruits to more than 100 separate roles in seven categories:

  • Combat
  • Engineering
  • Human resources and finance
  • Intelligence, IT, and communications
  • Logistics and support
  • Medical
  • Musical and ceremonial

Graduates normally join the Army as an officer.

Royal Navy Careers

The Royal Navy is organised into five services:

  • Fleet Air Arm
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary
  • Royal Marines
  • Submarine Service
  • Surface Fleet

Across these five services there are nine branches:

  • Aviation
  • Chaplaincy
  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Medical
  • Royal Marines Band Service
  • Royal Marines Reserve
  • Royal Naval Reserve
  • Warfare

RAF Careers

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has the following categories:

  • Aircrew
  • Air operations support
  • Force protection
  • Intelligence
  • Medical and medical support
  • Personnel support
  • Technical and engineering

There are three ranking structures: officers (the equivalent of managers), airmen and airwomen, and non-commissioned aircrew. RAF Regulars are full-time personnel; you can also join part time as an RAF Reserve.

Military Ranks In the UK

Strictly speaking, the three UK armed should be listed in order of the seniority of the service: Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force.

The Royal Marines are part of the Royal Navy but use the rank structure of the British Army. To distinguish Royal Marines from their Army colleagues, their name should be followed by the words ‘Royal Marines’ or ‘RM’.

To distinguish naval ranks from army ranks, such as captain and lieutenant, all Royal Navy officer ranks below admiral (midshipman all the way up to commodore) are followed by the words ‘Royal Navy’ or ‘RN’.

The term ‘officer’ refers to someone with a commission. Warrant officers do not hold one. The same applies to Royal Navy chief petty officers and petty officers.

Communications and Meetings with the Armed Forces Careers Office

The following is a description of the types of communication you will have with the Armed Forces Careers Office as you begin your armed forces recruitment process:

  • Visit your local Armed Force Careers Office and chat to the staff. They will provide you with the appropriate brochures and ascertain whether you are qualified to apply for the given branches. At this point you do not have to learn anything or pass any tests
  • At your next visit to the Armed Forces Careers Office, you will spend several hours receiving information about the relevant service, the way of life and the recruitment process
  • You must then submit your application either from the appropriate website or at an AFCO. Completing the application should take about 45 minutes and will include sections about personal details including nationality, qualifications, fitness, sporting interests and why you are interested in joining the armed forces in the UK
  • Once you have submitted your application, you will be guided through the recruitment process by a Recruiter or Candidate Support Manager.
  • Then you will have to undergo an AFCO Interview which is the first stage of the selection process proper. The interview will last between 30 min and an hour and you will be asked about you family background, education, previous jobs, hobbies, sports, and responsibilities.

The recruitment process is about attracting sufficient men and women of the right quality to meet the armed forces personnel requirements.

Those that are accepted into the UK armed forces must have the potential to be good sailors, soldiers, or airmen and are capable of being trained to carry out their chosen trade.

Training is the process of preparing those men and women for their careers and is progressive and continues all the way through your armed forces career.

The Armed Forces Recruitment Process

Potential recruits are normally aged between 16 years and nine months and 32 years

There will be several steps to decide on overall suitability for the forces:

  • RAF Aptitude Test
  • Selection Interviews
  • Health Assessment
  • Fitness Test
  • Pre-Recruit Training Course

This will be followed by your basic training, where it is essential to get off to a good start to your new career in the armed forces. One important element is to be fully prepared with your essential kit which can be purchased from Supply Drop at heavily discounted prices.

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