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Army Foundation College

(66 Posts)
GnomeDePlume Sun 20-Apr-14 15:15:48

DS wants to join the Army as a junior soldier. He wants to join REME.

Does anyone have experience of the application process please? How competitive is it? How long is the process?

All thoughts or experiences gratefully received.

ruby1234 Sun 20-Apr-14 20:03:07

My DS joined REME about 41/2 years ago.
He went to the local Army recruitment office and had an interview. At that time he was 17 and studying at college for a 'Uniformed Public Services' NVQ. The army were impressed with him and gave him a bursary so he could finish his qualification - the bursary totalled £2000 altogether, about £800 while he was still at college and the remainder once he passed out from basic training.
He went to Edinburgh, I think, for his fitness/medical test - it seems that you get a better choice of jobs the fitter you are. Fortunately fro him he is very sporty and could choose from lots of careers.
He did his basic 14 weeks training at Bassingbourne barracks when he finished college at 18, then he went on to another barracks. He has travelled to Canada, Kenya, Belgium, South Africa and (ugh) Afghanistan.
He loves his job, plays competitive sports for the Army teams and gets lots of free time off to play his sports. Money is good for young lads.
Any questions, let me know.

GnomeDePlume Sun 20-Apr-14 21:14:00

Many thanks ruby1234

Just how competitive is entry? Did your DS do anything like Army Cadets?

This is absolutely what DS wants to do. His preference would be to go to the AFC at Harrogate first.

He is reasonably fit but we will chivvy him out to get running.

madeofkent Sun 20-Apr-14 22:16:19

Mine is at Uni and has joined the OTC. I know it's different, but the fitness part is strenuous. He said that most people failed it, there were hundreds applying initially. He did belong to army cadets while he was still at school and had been away with them for a week during the summer, and we had quite a tiring summer holiday after that, so he was quite fit when he had all his tests. Yes, get him running and doing press-ups. OTC are helping to fund him while he is at Uni, but he has to stay fit so goes running most mornings and does exercises that they taught him. He loves the life though.

TitchyCooPark Sun 20-Apr-14 23:35:17

The Army Foundation College is amazing, they are basically the Sgts and above of the future. They are not recruits it is a sixth form college and therefore it is very different to going straight into basic training. The training, welfare and standards are so incredibly high. Yes, it will be a steep learning curve the entire time, but even if he decides the Army is not for him then the tuition and discipline he takes with him to Civvy Street will be welcomed by any employer.

I am sure they have thousands of applicants for the places, and don't worry if your son was not in any of the cadet forces, it really won't put him at a disadvantage. Actually, perhaps I should not be saying this, but in a way he is at an advantage as lots of the Cadets will be having to relearn what they have done at Cadets. I am qualified to say that as I am a volunteer with the Cadet forces. Our Cadets do not always find it as easy as they think they will.

I have to also say that my OH has 30 years in the military and "back in the day" he attended the 80s version of the AFC. He went through a very similar selection procedure and the training was almost identical. The principal is still the same, those that graduate from AFC are extremely well thought of across the Army and are looked at as the potential high fliers.

You should be very proud of your son. I won't gabble on about the application process, but if you ever have any questions please feel free to ask.


GnomeDePlume Mon 21-Apr-14 00:31:41

DS has been in Army Cadets for a couple of years. He doesnt believe that this will give him an advantage except in a more background sort of way (the language, the discipline, the atmosphere) so that basic trining will be less of a shock to the system.

GnomeDePlume Mon 21-Apr-14 07:18:44

TCP I think that what you are describing is the sixth form college at Welbeck. DS wont get the grades for this and it is also not the direction he wants to go in. AFC Harrogate is basic training for junior soldiers. If he gets in DS will be paid.

So far on paper DS meets all the requirements. He should meet the GCSE requirements for REME. He has a good discipline record at school and is making progress in cadets (he has a stripe!).

If he makes the grade on paper how likely is he to get in?

ruby1234 Mon 21-Apr-14 08:03:13

Hello Gnome

I think when my DS applied, there were lots of applicants, but then again, 5 years ago I think there were more jobs available.
My DS sporting ability together with his college grades were the things that helped him out mainly. He did not go to cadets, in fact he showed no interest in the army up until the day he went to the recruitment office!
Some of his mates did go to AFC, they still have to undergo the basic training at the 'real' barracks in order to get in the army (I think).
Has your DS considered college/A levels, and then joining the army directly rather than AFC? He would then have some good qualifications if the army doesn't work out? He may also qualify for the bursary - £2k is a nice sum.

sparkle22 Mon 21-Apr-14 12:07:00

My son joined the army 3 years ago via Junior entry. He wanted to go to Harrogate but as he wanted a trade (signals)he had to go to Winchester to complete his basic training, Harrogate was for Infantry at that time I am not sure what they are now. He didn't go to Cadets or anything and him wanting to join the army came out of the blue really.

He decided when he was 16 and the whole process from his first visit to the ACO to him starting was about 12mths. It was quite competitive but if its what he really wants I am sure he will be fine.

The actual basic course was quite hard work (took 6 months), there were times my son struggled a bit but he really enjoyed it by the end, he then went to Blandford to do phase 2 trade training (another 6 months but this depends on actual trade) and then did all his driving tests at leconfield. He is now living in Germany and loving it smile

GnomeDePlume Mon 21-Apr-14 12:55:00

Many thanks all.

DS is really not interested in staying on at school (no college nearby). Also, while he does get good effort grades his academic grades would not direct him to A levels. However, we are going to encourage him to look into BTECs in case he isnt able to get in to the Army at the first attempt.

As I understand it all the Junior Soldiers go through Harrogate now. The long course (40 odd weeks) is for infantry and the short course (20 odd weeks) for technical trades. For the technical trades they still do as your DS did sparkle and do their trade training elsewhere depending on trade.

Interesting about the process taking 12 months. Just chatted with DS. He wants to go to the ACO for a chat around the end of this academic year. If still interested he will then get the ball rolling in September as he goes into year 11.

TitchyCooPark Mon 21-Apr-14 13:32:45

OP. Sorry, just to clarify my earlier post.

You are correct. Welbeck is for those school leavers who are interested in being an Officer in any of the three services, or MoD engineering.

Whereas Army Foundation College in Harrogate is for school leavers who want to join as a private soldier in any number of regimental cap badges or corps. It is classed as a Sixth Form as they do spend part of their week doing educational classes in various subjects. What they study depends on their individual GCSE grades. They also do basic military training, lots of adventure training and exercises. They do have some flexibility for those who change their mind about regiments and/or trades as long as there are places available.

There are two lengths of intake, a longer course and a shorter course it all depends on the cap badge/trade your son chooses to follow. If you have not already done so then I would recommend going to a recruitment office asap to start the registration and application process.

Mr TCP was offered a post at AFC Harrogate, if you go on a vist/open day it will blow you away.

~Wishing your son all the best in his application~


TitchyCooPark Mon 21-Apr-14 13:39:31

Sorry, cross posted whilst I was doing lunch.

That is great that he is looking forward and planning his visit to the recruitment office. Mr TCP is saying that he thinks they are going to be bombarded with Year 11s/Year13s as well as other recruits in September. He is saying get ahead of the game by going during the summer holidays.

fingers crossed for him


sparkle22 Mon 21-Apr-14 17:19:21

That sounds a good plan Gnome.
My son did leave it slightly late as he made his initial enquiry around the March in his final year at school, before he did his exams in the May/June so in the September so he had to start college (he did a sports course to keep his fitness up) as I didn't want him just waiting around, as he didn't know for certain that he had a place at this point.

During the next 12 months he had a few interviews at the ACO, then in the August had pre-selection, october was his selection and he was offered a place, but he then had to wait for a start date. He was given a start date of 30th March at the begining of the January. It seemed to take ages to get through each stage, but once he had a date everything went smoothly.

I still can't believe my ds settled so well in the army, he didn't like school at all, wasn't a bad lad at all, but didn't really like authority much! He is home at the moment on leave, he has changed so much, but all in a good way. He is independant, thoughtful, confident and so grown up now. All the best to your son smile

GnomeDePlume Mon 21-Apr-14 18:26:43

Many thanks again!

DS has a September birthday so will need to make sure he has got everything underway promptly to ensure he doesnt get too old for Harrogate. He would prefer to do the longer basic training and education course that the AFC offers than waiting until he can go in as an adult. IMO this is sensible, it gives him the chance to do the early training with people his own age.

I have just looked at the Army website again. Pay will be £800/month after deductions. Not a bad return for a 16 year old especially since I guess that he wont get much opportunity to spend it for the first few months at least!

GnomeDePlume Tue 22-Apr-14 17:38:58

sparkle, ruby you must be very proud of your sons!

ruby1234 Tue 22-Apr-14 19:07:43

sparkle, ruby you must be very proud of your sons!

Yes I am!
To watch him march on parade is a lovely thing, I am very, very proud.
Mostly though, I am proud that big, tough soldier that he is, he always has a hug and kiss for his mum and ends all his messages with a X. The army hasn't changed the way he is - still a big soft daft lad!

triplets Sun 01-Feb-15 22:25:47

Found you all on here! As you know Thomas is off to Harrogate on March the 15th, it is Mothers Day sad We went to the open day on Jan 17th and yes it blew me away! It is the most amazing opportunity for any young lad or girl, you came away with the feeling that standards are high, they expect the best and get it! I just want him to do something with his life he is passionate about, but I also want to wrap him up in cotton wool and keep him safe. Tough being a Mum isn't it?

Jaylou2703 Tue 03-Feb-15 11:38:59

I'm new to Mumsnet, was looking for forums discussing AFC Harrogate and found you. My daughter who has just turned 17 last week is off to Harrogate on 15th March. Didn't realise it's Mother's Day ! It was a total shock to us when she told us what she wanted to do approx a year ago. She went thru the various selection processes and wanted to go last September but her chosen field of Artillery was over subscribed so she had to wait till this March. I'm glad as she now has had a part time job and will be finishing a years Public Services course early. The college have been great about whizzing her thru the course so she does actually get the qualification.. I feel she is a bit more Worldly than she was last September. I'm very anxious however about a young girl going off so young and not having me around to chat things over with.

triplets Tue 03-Feb-15 22:30:19

Hi Jaylou........congratulations to your daughter, its a great achievement to get a place there. Did you go to the Open Day on Jan 17th, it was all amazing. Trouble was there was so much to take in its only now that I wish I had asked more questions! We live in Kent so are probably going up by train, might see you there!

triplets Tue 03-Feb-15 22:32:31

Has anyone been on the ARRSE site.........I found it y/day, if you click on Juniors there is a chat forum on Harrogate, very useful!

Jaylou2703 Wed 04-Feb-15 14:03:52

Hi, we actually went to the open day last summer, at that time she was hoping to get in for September but didn't. Feel the same about wrapping her in cotton wool but she is pretty self sufficient and Im beginning to think it really will be the making of her. Funny thing is my son came away from the open day with us really fired up and is still thinking about joining reserves.
I haven't spotted any other mums with daughters on here, would love to hear their points of view too.

Jaylou2703 Wed 04-Feb-15 14:13:28

Also Triplets, just read your post on ARRSE, we haven't had the formal letter yet either, they told me to expect it approx 4 weeks before.

triplets Wed 04-Feb-15 22:53:35

Hi Jaylou have you got all the kit yet? Still a few bits to get, looking for green towels you wouldn't think it would be so difficult! He wants green! Haven`t got the passport photos yet either, seems to be costing a fortune! Oh and padlocks, arc markers, marker pens etc etc etc! grin

triplets Thu 05-Feb-15 11:35:42

Hi Jaylou.........I have just been looking on the Army website re joining instructions for the 15th. They mention on there a photo consent form. Do you know anything about it, I can`t see how you can down load it. Thanks. x

di135 Thu 05-Feb-15 13:46:19

Hi everyone, glad ive found some like minded mums to chat with! Ive looked at the ARSE forum but they dont seem as friendly.

My daughter is 16 and looking to go to Harrogate this Sept. She's had interview but is still awaiting selection date. Prob we have is if she gets deferred for any reason she needs a back up plan for September as they cant leave education until they are 18. Also most colleges / 6 form are all 1-2 year courses. Anyone have any suggestions about short courses that are relevant ?

And does anyone know how many they take per intake?
Ive also booked her on an army boot camp / 5 day outreach course in preparation for selection. - trying to do all i can to help

Jaylou2703 - you mention your daughter wants to joing the artillery. Which regiment? as you mention over subscribed which is what my daughter wants to do.

Also if any other mums of daughters on here can you let me know their run times / press up / sit ups they achieved at selection. Im all for equality but near impossible for a 16yr old girl to achieve the same results as a boy/man.

many thanks

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