What advice for a son determined to join the Army?(15 Posts)
I've put this here in the hope that some will have experience. Sorry, if it's not the right place.
16yo DS has decided this is what he wants to do. I don't love it because I'm scared for him but I'd be very proud and I can see that it would suit him.
He does OK but not brilliantly at school. He should hopefully end up with seven or eight GCSE C and above and an opportunity to do A levels or a Btec qualification next year, if he puts off the Army until 18.
ATM his preferred option is to do the BTec and an Alevel to get enough UCAS points (180 under the old system) to join as an officer. I need to check his facts there !
What advice wodl you be giving him? Please don't say don't!
Although you can join as an officer without university, in practice most have been (unless older candidates),
Has he been in to a career's office?
What bit of the Army is he interested in?
He fancies Royal (?) Signals and he's seen on the Army website that he needs 180 points for officer training (sorry wrong term, I expect)
No he hasn't seen a careers office, mostly because until very recently "staying on" was as far as he'd got with decisions about his future, although he's said he wanted to be a soldier since he was very young, he wasn't showing any signs of actually wanting to make it happen.
There's a lot of Information here, which is where I assume he has looked? He could potentially get help with his university fees. My son joined the marines 3 years ago, after uni (but hadn't decided in advance so has student loans now!) I had reservations too but he is doing really well, and has just been promoted. I think the experience of university helped him - he was more mature than many of the lads who had joined from school, and he knew this was what he really wanted. It's not been easy - the marines are tough! But I'm incredibly proud of him.
For RSigs, the most useful A levels would be in maths and physics, and then computer science and other subjects which support engineering.
Unfortunately, he might be too late to go the Welbeck route, but it might still be worth making an enquiry.
Bursaries for university study are getting somewhat rarer.
Good for your son OP. My db joined the RN with just A levels, as a mid, and is now a Cdr.
They can join w/o a degree.....Prince Harry did.
I think the best thing would be to get your son to go into his local army careers office, they can provide the most up to date info, and give him an insight into what life is really like etc.
Officers in RSigs are invariably graduates these days.
He needs to do at least two hard sciences at a level, then something like maths, physics, computer science or electronic engineering at university. Or choose a different cap badge.
Welbeck is great if he can get in there, but it means him leaving home at 16 argh.
Could he try the cadets to see if he loves it /hates it before he signs up?
Do you have forces friends that he could chat to before making a big decision? My husband has served for 27 years - if one of the children I know wanted to join up I would make sure they spent some time with him talking it through, to ensure that they did not have any unrealistic expectations.
Joining the army means being prepared to be injured or die in active combat. Get your son to check out documentary footage of what can happen to a fit young body during active service, and see if he still wants to join up:
If you tell him you don't want him to join, then it will make him want it all the more. My husband wanted to join at 16, his mum said no so he joined at 18. And is still there at 45.....
However I wouldn't want my DS to join up. He has mentioned it (he is14) and I don't say no, but hmmmm. Usually by the following week, he has another idea. This week it is fire service.
He does need to understand it is a massive commitment, and he may be required to put himself in dangerous situations if he is sent on tour. Speaking to some people who have been there themselves might give him some insight.
But if you say no, he might then set his heart on it..!
Missing I sent ds back to the UK for sixth form at 16, as we were posted abroad. It did him the world of good, and iirc, Welbeck is far more structured than the state sixth form at which ds boarded!
Once has been in touch with the careers office, he'll be in no doubt about the the possibility of being sent into conflict. There is no bait and switch, and they are very thorough.
DS friend joined at 16, but by the time he had go through all the application process and fitness tests etc he was turning 18. DDs college friend joined the navy at 18, he was 19 by the time he started. He has now been there since October and doing great.
I think it's important to get info NOT from the army as well as the official stuff. Recruitment material is just adverts, they're trying to get people to join up so they're not exactly going to give you all the downsides as well as the good stuff. Recommend you and your son both look at info here www.child-soldiers.org/dontenlistat16. Make sure he's got both sides of the story before he makes a decision. And you as well. Good luck.
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