Career Planning

By Katelin Thomson



To join as a regular soldier you need to be at least 16 years old, although you can start the application process earlier, with your parents' permission and to join a regular officer you need to be between 18 and 25 years and 11 months. You can apply to become a Reservist soldier when you're 17 years and 9 months so you ready to start when you turn 18. The Army welcomes applicants from certain countries and overseas territories, but you may need to have lived in the UK for a set period of time to be eligible for certain roles. You must meet the army nationality and residency requirements. You must also get a GP’s medical report and pass a full army medical examination. You can join if you are a man or a woman although some units recruit men only. You may need some qualifications for certain technical roles, such as in engineering or communications but for many army jobs you will not need any. You must be able to pass the fitness tests. The tests that you would need to do are:

  • Beep test- Males: Level 10.2 and Females: Level 8.1
  • Sit-ups- Males & Females: 50 in two minutes
  • Press-ups- Males: 44 in two minutes Females: 21 in two minutes
  • 1.5 mile run- Males: 10 min 30 sec and Females: 12 min 45 sec

You should be honest about whether you have a criminal conviction or not and you should let the army know about your past history because they could give you a second chance to help you have a fresh start. If your tattoo is offensive, obscene or racist it will prevent you from joining the Army. Small tattoos that aren't offensive in any way are not normally a problem, depending where they are on your body and how visible they are. Tattoos on your head and face are not acceptable. If you've used drugs in the past, it won't normally prevent you from joining the Army, but after you join, you must not misuse drugs.


You must be 18+ before you can even apply and you must be a UK resident as well. You must also be able to pass background and security checks, and give details of any previous convictions. Although you may still be eligible to join the police service if you have minor convictions/cautions, there are certain offences and conditions that will make you ineligible. You would need a GCSE's grade C or above or a Level 2 functional skills in maths and English as well as passing a series of assessment tests like working with numbers, communication, reading and writing skills, handling information and decision making. You will also have physical fitness and health checks. You must physically and mentally be able to undertake police duties and to be able to pass fitness tests such as the endurance test where a candidate basically has to run between two lines of a 15 meter course. Each line has to be reached by a certain time, which is indicated by an audio bleep. And the push and pull test where candidates must sit on a special pulling machine and pull and push a bar to a required level, again within a certain time. You would also need to be in good health to be accepted as a police officer because police officers need to be physically healthy in order to carry out their duties, you will need to be examined to ensure you have no serious health problems. You would also need to have a full driving license. Anyone who has a tattoo which could be construed as offensive to any religion or belief, or is in any way discriminatory, violent or intimidating, will not be accepted to join. Tattoos on the face, visible above a collar line or on the hands are not acceptable for any role and the tattoos must be covered. Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:

  • Effective communication skills;
  • Community focus;
  • A confident and calm manner;
  • Good literacy skills in order to accurately record details;
  • Team working skills and the ability to work independently;
  • Professionalism, honesty and trustworthiness;
  • Sound judgement and a proper respect for confidentiality;
  • Ability to act with resolve, tolerance and restraint.



You have to pass all the stages of the recruitment process before you can join the police service.

Stage 1: Check out eligibility.

You must be able to meet all the requirements if you don’t then your application won’t go through.

Stage 2: Attend a Recruiting Information Seminar and sit a suitability test.

There will be officers who will be available to explain the role of a police officer in more detail, and to answer any questions you may have at the end of the two hour presentation. They will also be able to give you practical guidance on the application form, which you will receive only if you pass the suitability test. Usually the test consists of maths and spelling questions.

Stage 3: Complete a competency based application form.

The application form has been carefully designed nationally and has been pre-tested to ensure it is fair to everyone. As well as looking for evidence of the qualities you already have or may develop to enable you to carry out the role of a police officer.

Stage 4: Fitness test and assessment center workshop.

The center workshop will give you more information on what is involved at the assessment center and how to plan for it.

Stage 5: Assessment Center.

The Assessment Center is a series of written and verbal tests designed to determine skill and education level. They will be looking to see if you have the essential to the role of a police officer such as communication, community focus, team work and many more.

Stage 6: Force interview board.

The interview will usually comprise of a panel of two members of the police force and will last approximately 45 minutes where you will be asked competency based questions.

Stage 7: Medical/eyesight/security checks.

The next stage is to look at your medical and eyesight with our Force Medical Adviser and Nurse which may involve requesting additional information and tests from your GP.

Stage 8: References. If you pass your medical they will request references. The references must cover five years and we will obtain a reference from your current employment after seeking your permission.

Stage 9: Appointment and 17 Weeks Training Phase.

Once you have completed all of the recruitment stages you will be issued with a letter of appointment and information on your initial 17 week, non-residential training program.

The application form will ask different questions and you can find the rest of the application through this link When filling out an application form, you should use black ink only and in most cases the application will tell were to use block capitals. You should be honest in your application form and you shouldn't put things in that aren't true. To be selected you have to stand out and if your application gets picked you would probably receive a letter to say whether or not you application was picked. Afterwards you will be interviewed where they would ask you question about the answers you have given on the application. Afterwards you will undertake a 17 weeks training and there you the police officers can help you in getting to the stages so that you can become a police officer. You would also need to undertake different fitness test to ensure that you have a good fitness level. You would also undergo different presentations to see how confident you are and to see what your communication skills are. If you’re successful through the process then you will have a better chance in getting into the police service.


You have to pass all the stages of the recruitment process before you can join the army.

To join the army there are 5 main steps involved in the recruitment process.

Stage 1: Choosing a role in the British Army. Whether you decide to join the Army as an Officer or a Soldier, there are many roles you can choose from. This means you are guaranteed to find the right job that will deliver the rewarding career you are looking for.

Stage 2: British Army Interviews.

Once you have submitted your application, you will be invited to an initial interview where you will speak with an Army Careers Adviser. They will be able to answer any questions you may still have about joining the Army. During your first formal interview, you will be asked about your physical fitness, achievements and interests.

Stage 3: The British Army selection process. Providing you pass all the required standards, you will then be invited for a 2 day stint at an Army Development and Selection Center. This is intended to assess your potential to be a soldier. You will also undergo a medical examination to ensure you are fit and healthy enough to begin your Phase 1 Initial Training.

Stage 4: British Army Basic Training.

You will learn about weapon handling, first aid, tactics, map reading and much more. As well as undergoing training to improve your fitness, confidence and teamwork skills. They will also help if you if your numeracy, literacy and communication are not some of your strong points.

Stage 5: British Army Specialist Training.

When you have completed your Initial Training, you will be considered as a fully-trained soldier, which allows you to start your specialist training at one of the Army's dedicated centers. Here you will be taught all the skills you need to perform your first job in the Army.

When filling out the application form you should write in black ink and parts of the application will ask you to write in block capitals. You should be honest because you will be later asked about what you've put in the application. you will then undergo an interview where they are able to see how confident you are and what your communication skills are like. To be selected you would need to pass the interview stage and you would also need to pass the fitness test that are given to ensure that you are physically fit. Eventually you would undergo basic training so you know how to use the equipment and to have a better understanding of the army life.



The skills that you would need to go into the police service would be to have effective communication. This is important as you would need to talk to the public and you would need to be able to use different methods of communication. Another skill would be pride of appearance. This is important because if you look scruffy then the public might see the service as unprofessional and a smart uniform shows that you are proud of your job. Also another skill would be conflict management. This is important because you may need to deal with the dispute quickly which could mean dealing with an argument in a pub or stopping a fight. This could also mean calming the situation down and using a variety of communication skills. Police officers will also be required to arrest a violent offender by listening and speaking in a calm manner but if trying different communication methods doesn't work then the officers can restrain to stop their aggressive behaviour.

The qualities that you would need to go into the police service would be the ability to deal with people. This is important because police officers must be able to develop a good network of relationships within and outside the police department. They must also be able to work as a team and understand the importance of cooperating with others. Another quality would be the ability to be firm. This is important because police officers must be self-assured and show authority even in difficult situations. It is also good to be firm especially when you are able to defend a different point of view during a discussion. Also another quality would be ability to control your emotion. This is important because police officers often have to handle crises, they must be able to keep their cool when tensions rise. It is important when the police officer is able to remain calm even when someone tries to annoy them and are able keep their concentration even during stressful situations.