Case study

Captain Rhianon Graham — HR and Finance (Staff and Personnel Support) Officer

Rhiannon Graham

Currently based in Canada, Rhianon is in charge of VIP visits to the British Army Training Unit in Suffield, Alberta. Discover what she enjoys about her job

What course did you study and where?

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science at the University of Reading.

How did you become a staff and personnel support (SPS) officer?

While working as a HR assistant at Allied Bakeries I saw an advert for a HR officer role in the British Army. After doing some research into the job I organised a familiarisation visit to find out more.

I then attended the Army Officer Selection Board and then the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commissioning in April 2015. I commenced my job-specific training for 11 weeks in Winchester, before being attached to the King’s Royal Hussars in Wiltshire.

What’s a typical day like?

There is some routine in the job; however your day will be varied and full of new challenges. Whether it’s key stakeholder meetings, professionally developing your team of soldiers or organising and partaking in adventurous training and sport.

The SPS offers you the chance to serve in all parts of the British Army, UK and worldwide. Changing locations and roles every two years, you will gain a wealth of experience and skills.

Currently I am based in Canada for six months, arranging and overseeing visits for high ranking military and civilian personnel. I am also the executive officer to the commander, making sure things run smoothly and go to plan.

What do you enjoy about your job?

In the SPS we are constantly exposed to opportunities to further our professional development. Whether that be developing my rapport building skills, taking part in adventurous training or mentoring and developing my soldiers. This is something that few employers offer.

Since joining I have grown a huge network of contacts and gained skills that I will use for the rest of my life.

What are the challenges?

Moving roles and locations every two years is normally an exciting prospect. However, it will mean moving accommodation.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree is not directly relevant to my role. However, it has been useful when attending officer promotion courses.

How has your role developed?

As an SPS officer you progress at a comfortable pace, which allows you to learn the skills needed before being tested. You’ll naturally pick up extra tasks as you develop and after two years you’ll move into a different role or unit. This keeps you mentally stimulated and allows you to grow professionally. I hope to deploy on operations at my next unit.

Any tips for becoming an Army officer?

  • The easiest thing to train for is the physical elements - make sure you are fit and healthy before you attend Army Officer Selection.
  • I would also highly recommend attending an AGC Officer Familiarisation Visit to chat with our regular army SPS officers.

Find out more

  • Learn more about the Army.