Job Description:

Soldiers take part in peacekeeping missions, supporting humanitarian efforts or fighting in combat zones around the world.

Job Category:
Aerospace & Defence

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your job. You could:

  • act as pit crew to move, refuel and arm helicopters
  • work on and maintain vehicles like tanks, HGVs and quad bikes
  • gather evidence and make arrests as part of the military police
  • provide administrative support in HR or finance roles
  • gather and analyse military intelligence and information
  • support health or veterinary services
  • track, store and deliver equipment and supplies to barracks and in the field
  • take part in parades as a musician or ceremonial gunner


You’ll need:

  • concentration skills and fast reactions
  • active listening skills and the ability to follow instructions quickly
  • thinking and reasoning skills and the confidence to act quickly
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • physical fitness and endurance
  • the ability to work well with others in a team (teamwork skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a soldier typically doesn’t require specific subjects. However, a good general education can be helpful, and there are certain skills and qualities that may be beneficial if you’re considering a career in the military. These skills and qualities include physical fitness, discipline, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities.

  1. Physical Education (PE): Maintaining physical fitness is crucial for military service, so having a strong foundation in physical education can be beneficial.
  2. Mathematics and English: While not specific to military service, good math and English skills are essential for clear communication and understanding instructions.
  3. Geography: Geography can be useful if you’re interested in roles that involve navigation, mapping, or understanding terrain.
  4. Science: A basic understanding of science, particularly physics and biology, can be helpful in various military roles, such as those in engineering or medical fields.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


You could apply to join the army through a forces serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship.

You’ll need to apply directly to the army to find the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you’re interested in, for example, engineering, health or logistics.


Join the Army to get experience of what life is like in the regular army. You’ll also learn new skills at the same time.

You’ll need to:

  • be aged between 18 and 49
  • commit to at least 19 or 27 days a year, depending on your unit
  • attend a 2-week training camp each year

Direct Application

You can apply directly to join the army. You don’t need any specific qualifications unless you’re applying for a technical role like engineering or communications.

You’ll also need to be:

  • aged between 16 and 33
  • physically fit

If your application is accepted, you’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local army careers centre about what you want to do. You’ll then attend an assessment, which includes medical and fitness tests.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of variable hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank  holidays away from home.

You could work at a military base, be based overseas or in a warzone. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors in all weathers. You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

When you join the army, you sign up for 4 years. You can leave at any time after this as long as you give 12 months’ notice. If you want to stay you can extend your 4-year contract.

With training and experience you could move up through the ranks or into a specialist unit like the commandos. You could also gain a commission to become an officer which would give you a higher salary.

You could move into a wide range of careers after leaving the army.