Case study

Educational and Training Services (ETS) Officer — Captain Rebecca Jarvis

Rebecca studied Combined Arts (English and Music) at Durham University. She's now in charge of Kuwaiti English language training at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom

How did you become an ETS officer?

While working as an English language teacher in Italy, I saw an advert for the British Army and organised a familiarisation visit to find out more about the role of an ETS officer. I attended the Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB) and secured a place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. I commissioned as an officer 44 weeks later. Role-specific training lasted nine weeks, during which I began my PGCE.

What's a typical day like as an ETS officer?

The ETS offers a range of roles in a variety of locations, and you change jobs every two years in order to give you a broad experience. I'm currently in a managerial role where I run language courses at home and abroad for foreign students selected to train with the British Army. This involves selecting candidates, writing and conducting examinations, teaching (general and military English) and managing the students and contracted tutors on the course.

Teaching is a fundamental aspect of the job. You're expected to deliver training from the day you start in the ETS.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love teaching and relish every opportunity to get into the classroom with the students, but I also enjoy developing and writing material, as it plays to my creative strengths.

I've been fortunate to work with many people from different nations and have travelled extensively.

What are the challenges?

Working with different cultures can be challenging so you must be diplomatic and patient. Flexibility is also an essential part of being an Army officer.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree is not directly relevant to my role, but I have been funded through a PGCE, PGDip and a Diploma in English Teaching to Adults (DELTA) since joining the Army.

What are your career ambitions?

I have been on a trial for the past two years, which has allowed me to work part-time while my children are young. The Army is soon to make this an option for its personnel, which will offer much more flexibility to those people who require it.

I hope to transition seamlessly into the ETS Army Reserve at the end of this year in order to allow me greater flexibility in work hours.

Any tips for becoming an Army officer?

You need to be fit in order to pass selection and succeed at Sandhurst. Mental and physical preparation is essential.

Attend a familiarisation visit in order to work out if a career in the Army is right for you. There are numerous career paths available, so it's sensible to gain as much experience as you can before attending selection.

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