THE BRITISH ARMY NEEDS YOU—BUT IS IT THE JOB FOR YOU?
The British Army until recently had been recruiting from Foreign and Commonwealth countries (including Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Kenya, etc). Recruitment has been paused temporarily. There’s the likelihood that they will be reaching out to potential recruits across the globe again in the coming months if not earlier.
So what does that mean for anyone in Africa interested in enlisting and what can you do to prepare yourself in the meantime.
Well, with accurate information and good research, the right attitude and commitment you can also achieve your dream of joining the world’s most revered military organisation. And what benefits would it be to you if you ever decided to join? Well, you’d travel the world and see some amazing places—free of charge, you will gain a tremendous amount of practicable qualifications that you can take with you anywhere in life, you will earn good money, you will get to go on some exciting adventure training in so many locations of the earth including sky diving, scuba diving, mountain climbing and abseiling, the benefits are immense and innumerable.
Before I go on any further, may I quickly say that being in any army and what’s more the British Army is not your regular and average 9 to 5 job where a daily routine is easily mapped and achieved. Joining any military in the world is serious business and is not a decision to be made lightly. The nature of UK MoD’s engagements around the globe as well as been a long standing member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) means you are usually required to travel and or be deployed anywhere in the world, countries such as Belize, Kenya, Germany, Canada, Brunei and many more are all places with British Army’s presence. It therefore takes a lot of physical robustness, mental fortitude and a can- do spirit to be able to do what is expected of you—I repeat, this is not a job for everyone.
I can’t emphasise this next point enough, integrity also happens to be one of the biggest of the British Army’s values and standards (including Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Loyalty and Selfless-Commitment). This is not a training or breeding ground for dishonest and insincere people, if you can’t be trusted by your own words and be an integral team player you can’t be trusted to do anything else. The man, or woman, stood next to you on operations and even the battlefield should be able to trust the soldier stood next to them, it does not matter whether they are homosexuals, religious, atheist or a different ethnicity and or even colour.
SO HOW DO I JOIN?
Find below the British Army’s working policy on recruitment from the commonwealth. This is the first point of call for anyone interested in enlisting. It is absolutely imperative that you read this first.
The army has a rolling basis recruitment programme when it is active for commonwealth applicants all year round, till spaces allocated are filled up. Simply put, it is first come first serve. This limited annual quota gets filled up very quickly, the quicker you start the application once you hear they are accepting online applications the better it is for you.
AND WHAT JOB ROLES ARE AVAILABLE
There are several dozen jobs across the many corps of the British Army. The popular ones are the Infantry Regiments, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, The Royal Army Medical Corps, Household Calvary, Royal Corps of Signals, The Royal Artillery, and many more. Each of these ‘cap badges’ have subdivisions and are usually broken down into the class of jobs that they do. For example, a trained chef or supply and logistics specialist from the Royal Logistic Corps can be attached to an infantry unit. There is heavy interdependence (moving parts) on different units to get the ultimate job done. Find below the link to the many jobs roles currently been recruited for and are available at this time (DO NOT APPLY AS THEY ARE NOT CURRENTLY RECRUITING FROM THE COMMONWEALTH).
AND WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS DO THEY ASK FOR
Each job role has specific requirements, so to be sure what they are asking for do check them out before applying to avoid delays and or disqualifications. If in doubt, contact them via online chat on Facebook or the recruitment page on their website.
Age: Anyone, male or female, between the ages of 18 and 36 can enlist (some jobs have younger age limit. Check first.
Qualifications: A decent pass in a GCSE equivalent education (such as WAEC, SSCE or WASSCE, B-Tech, City and Guild, etc.) would usually suffice. Certain technical and specialised jobs such as nursing, vet services, etc. would usually need a higher educational qualification (such as postgraduate degrees and certifications). Jobs in the infantry however do not require any formal education. The ability to read and understand English is however imperative.
AND THE BIGGEST OF THEM ALL—YOUR PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL FITNESS
You must be fit at all times, army fitness is not just to shred excess weight, or going to the gym to build packs, or to show off, it is for your own operational effectiveness and that of others. A fit soldier is an asset to any military organisation. Simple techniques and exercises that can be incorporated into a daily routine are Running/Jogging/ Upper body strength exercises (press ups, sit ups, heave ups, etc.) Weight training (nothing heavy). Know that no matter how hard you train, you would never be prepared enough for what lies ahead, you can only shape your physical body and mental stamina to an optimum level.
Getting yourself in top condition to join the Army also includes focusing on your diet. Eating well will help you feel more energised and reach your fitness goals. There are loads of guides to follow to get inspired about eating well on the British Army website. This will also help you stay on track to have a healthy Body Mass Index – which you will need to pass during physical assessment.
Aside a physical assessment there is a mandatory medical assessment which is a pass or fail. Here, they’d check your heart for any conditions, your hearing, sight, musco-skeletal build, your lungs, amongst many other things. This is a very thorough exam involving trained army doctors and consultants. There are also other things to bear in mind that can lead to automatic disqualifications. Diseases and conditions that can hinder your prospect includes
but not limited to Hepatitis, HIV-AIDS, Epilepsy, High Blood Pressure, Sickle Cell Disease (full blown carrier or SS and not trait). Find below a detailed list of medical conditions and diseases.
READY TO JOIN? APPLY ASAP WHEN RECRUITMENT OPENS!
The link below allows you access to the army registration and enlistment portal. They are CURRENTLY NOT taking applications from the Commonwealth so please don’t bother as the application if tempted will bounce.
After registering your interest, you should receive a response within 4 to 6 weeks, maybe more, depending how busy they may be. You would be assigned a personal recruitment support called ‘Candidate Support Manager’. He or she would be your point of contact and would guide you through the remainder of the process mostly via emails and the army portal. I would also add here that every applicant must know someone already living the U.K and is a legal or permanent residence who’d vouch for you as a ‘sponsor’, this is a requirement. Sponsor here is loosely used and has nothing to do with any financial commitment to you in this case and or any such matters. Just someone who’d say they know you and in most cases would be willing to accommodate you till training starts.
Life in the U.K is very expensive, the British Pound Sterling is one of the most valued currencies in the world if not the first, anyone travelling here for a minimum of six months regardless of whether they are here to join the army or not is usually advised to come financially prepared to avoid any unexpected situations and surprises. If you ever end up being a burden on tax payer’s money you can be deported and never be allowed back. Signing on with the British Army means you commit to a minimum of twelve years of service with the first four years been mandatory, if you ever decide to quit you would be able to do so at the end of your fourth towards your fifth year point.
You will also have the opportunity to apply for British Citizenship at a fee through the UK Home Office at your fifth year/point in the army.
READY TO TRAVEL TO THE UK? GET IMMIGRATION ADVICE! APPLY FOR A VISA!
To be continued….
An Article Written by Obeng, Precious Kweku.