Any career in the armed forces is governed and shaped by the particular service chosen, within each one there is a wide variety of roles – from a Royal Navy warfare officer aboard a ship, to an army infantry officer commanding and leading soldiers into action, or working in the Royal Air Force patrolling the skies.
Administrative army jobs
Careers in the armed forces don’t simply involve engineering or combat operations; many people work in vital administrative positions, which enable the UK’s armed forces to function in the most effective way possible. These support staff work in many different areas, from human resources, project management, I.T. and accountancy to admin, storage and security.
Administrative officers in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy are responsible for managing teams of administrative support staff. Essentially, they take on the role of a project manager: monitoring budgets, dealing with problems when they arise, training junior staff, acting as a team leader, building relationships with external suppliers, managing procurement activities and overseeing recruitment processes.
Administrative officers may sometimes also be engaged in field operations, where they will oversee a range of administrative processes and procedures, such as the registration of prisoners and the notification of families in the event of death or injury.
Operational army jobs
Operational officers in the armed forces (combat officers in the Army and warfare officers in the Royal Navy, for example) are tasked with planning, implementing and managing combat operations and field exercises, using tactical weapons systems and by leading highly trained units of soldiers. Essentially, these officers work on the frontline during combat situations, providing troops with the direction and leadership that they need to succeed.
Each operational officer is responsible for the training, welfare, morale and vigilance of the soldiers and junior officers under their command. They ensure that combat skills, operational readiness and peak levels of fitness are maintained by each operative. It’s all about taking charge and making sure that the right resources and tactics are used for each individual mission.
Operational officers are also responsible for planning and implementing troop deployment, weapon systems and communications in training, as well as in battle. Regular training exercises are carried out through combat simulations and practical exercises.
School leavers can access the armed forces via apprenticeships, such as Intermediate Apprenticeships in roles like sailor (Royal Naval Service), marine (Royal Naval Service), combat infantryman (Army) and airman (RAF Regiment).