Armed forces training and education officers help to provide learning and development opportunities for serving personnel

As an armed forces training and education officer, you'll be a commissioned military officer responsible for education and training support within one of the three armed services (Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force). As well as teaching, managing and personnel duties, you might be responsible for specialist or technical training.

You'll be expected to lead, motivate, manage, teach and act as a careers consultant and training adviser.

You must also prepare your team, ensuring they are ready to fulfil their roles with the forces, directing them when circumstances demand action and use of their skills and competence.

The Army's Educational and Training Services Branch is part of the Adjutant General's Corps.

Responsibilities

You'll be based at education and training centres within military bases or will be tasked with covering a specific geographical area.

You may be occasionally required to fulfil field operational roles.

Typical duties include:

  • analysing learning needs, both knowledge and skills
  • directing learners to appropriate courses
  • organising initial training for new entrants into the forces
  • designing, setting up and running training courses
  • instructing in subjects, including military studies, engineering and management, from the most basic level right through to technical and/or degree level
  • tutoring senior officers preparing for promotion
  • coordinating language training, perhaps including English as a foreign language (EFL) training for officers and other ranks from the armed forces of other countries
  • carrying out the necessary administrative tasks associated with learning programmes for individual officers and other ranks
  • managing a team of experienced personnel
  • liaising with external providers, such as the Open University (OU) and local technical and further education colleges
  • supporting the education and training of the families of staff.

If additional field operations are carried out, activities may include:

  • media, civil liaison, community relations or transitional roles
  • delivering low-level language or cultural awareness training.

Salary

  • The starting salary for graduate officer cadets in all three armed services is £27,818.
  • After successful completion of initial officer training, salaries increase to £33,436, across all armed forces.
  • Salaries are rank-related, and you can earn more by progressing through various ranks and seniorities.

Figures are intended as a guide only.

The armed forces also offer benefits such six weeks paid holiday every year, an excellent pension scheme, private health and dental care as well as subsidised accommodation in some cases.

Working hours

Working in the armed forces involves somewhere in the range of 42 to 48 hours per week, plus additional on-call hours. Shift work is the norm and means you'll regularly work unsocial hours.

Travel within a working day, absence from home at night and overseas work or travel are all frequent. Self-employment is not an option.

What to expect

  • You'll work in UK bases and stations where security restrictions operate, but there's also the possibility of prolonged periods abroad or on board a ship.
  • Expect to rotate jobs and relocate every two to three years. The extent of relocation, travel and family separation will depend upon the service and posting, but support services and social and recreational facilities are good.
  • The armed services are equal opportunities employers and promote multi-culturalism, equality and diversity. They are all members of Business in the Community and Stonewall.
  • All posts are equally open to men and women. Opportunities for women graduates in education and training are increasing.
  • In general, training and education officers work in offices and classrooms, but all armed forces officers are required to remain physically fit for exercises and active service in the field.
  • As an officer you'll given a high level of responsibility early in your career. The work is challenging and varied but can be stressful at times.

Qualifications

An undergraduate degree in any subject is required to work as an educational and training services officer in the army, a training management officer in the Royal Navy or a personnel training officer in the Royal Air Force.

You'll also need to meet requirements for GCSEs, including English language and maths and A-levels/Highers. Check individual armed forces websites for further details.

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) can be advantageous and you will be given the opportunity to study for one as part of your in-service training.

The Army will consider overseas applications. For further details, please refer to Army Careers.

The Royal Navy and the RAF will consider applications from graduates with British, Irish, Commonwealth and British/dual citizenship. To apply to the RAF, graduates must have lived in the UK for at least three years before they apply to join.

All three services run a system of sponsorship so that, if you apply for a commission prior to your final year, you may be eligible for a financial bursary per year. Your university liaison officer (ULO) can also give you details of sponsorship.

Potential officers in the Royal Navy attend a two-day admiralty interview board (AIB) at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. This involves a formal interview and a discussion exercise. You'll be required to undertake fitness and mental agility tasks, including verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills, concentration and spatial orientation, and will also be tested on your potential leadership skills.

The Army and the RAF follow a similar process.

Skills

You'll need to show:

  • communication skills
  • self-motivation and flexibility
  • the ability to lead and motivate
  • a good level of physical fitness.

For most branches of the armed forces, there are also medical and eyesight requirements. Physical fitness with good sight and colour perception is needed. University Liaison Officers (ULOs) can give you up-to-date information on this, and offer advice on vacation training, cadetships and familiarisation visits.

Your careers service can give details of your nearest Army, Navy or Air Force ULO.

Work experience

Pre-entry work experience is not generally needed, but some training can be helpful with cadet and/or reserve forces as well as:

  • University Air Squadrons (UAS)
  • University Officer Training Corps (UOTC)
  • University Royal Navy Units (URNUs).

You'll be expected to demonstrate a range of aptitudes.

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.

Employers

There are three employers within the armed forces:

The British Armed Forces are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and are reported to be one of the largest militaries in Europe. The purposes of each of the services are the same:

  • to defend the United Kingdom and its interests
  • to assist in keeping the peace around the world
  • tackle terrorism
  • to deliver emergency humanitarian relief.

Much of the time, the armed forces achieve these aims through membership of alliances, particularly the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), but unilateral responsibilities (for example the Falklands conflict) may mean that they act alone and thus need to be equipped and trained for all aspects of modern warfare.

Britain's membership of the United Nations (UN) and permanent place at the Security Council may also necessitate the use of armed force in defence of international security or in support of humanitarian and peace-keeping initiatives.

In addition, the forces have an important diplomatic function in representing Britain overseas with goodwill visits, and in providing training for other countries' armed forces, both in the UK and abroad.

An officer's appointment in one of the services of the armed forces might involve working with the other services, the UN or NATO. Officers might also work at the MoD headquarters.

Look for job vacancies at:

You can also enquire at local armed forces recruitment offices or with ULOs for opportunities.

Professional development

All three armed forces recruit graduates as officers and provide initial officer training (IOT) followed by specialist professional or technical training.

Army officers begin with a commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, which lasts 44 weeks.

In the Royal Navy, IOT lasts 30 weeks and takes place at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

In the RAF, IOT lasts 24 weeks, and takes place at a training base at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

The IOT training you'll receive in the armed forces, includes military, physical and academic training and is designed to build your leadership skills. You'll be taught about military organisation, defence issues, current affairs and management skills, and will develop skills in strategy, negotiation, communication and decision-making.

Continuing professional development (CPD) and training are features of a forces career, with opportunities to gain qualifications and accreditation with civilian professional bodies.

Following commissioning, Army officers who join the Educational and Training Services branch attend a nine-week educational and training course to become learning development officers (LDOs). You can study for a fully-funded PGCE, PGDip, or MSc education qualification.

Following initial officer training in the Royal Navy, training management officers undergo a 13-week training management foundation course. You will have the opportunity to gain a CIPD-accredited PGDIP in Human Resource Development and Training Management within six years, as well as funded postgraduate study for an MSc or MA in a range of training-related areas like leadership and management.

If you want to work with the Royal Marines, you'll have the opportunity to complete the All Arms Commando Course.

Career prospects

As a newly commissioned officer, after IOT, you'll be posted to an Army Education Centre or the Army Foundation College, to a ship for fleet training or to a squadron or station.

Once in place, you'll undertake specialist training to gain the detailed skills and particular knowledge needed to assume your first command.

For training management officers in the Royal Navy promotion to Lieutenant is automatic, provided you pass the training and perform to an acceptable level. Following that, opportunities exist for promotion to Lieutenant Commander and beyond.

Throughout your career, you'll have the opportunity to gain recognised academic qualifications, such as an MSc in training management and consultancy.

The all-officer, all-graduate Educational and Training Services (ETS) branch of the Army is within the Adjutant General's Corps (AGC), and offers responsibility, variety, great opportunities and advancement.

LDOs follow a professional development path from PGCE and Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) to Masters-level degrees.

After commissioning and gaining a PGCE and Masters, LDOs train as Learning Development Advisers, working in training schools, headquarters and policy directorates at single-service and Defence level. There are also opportunities to work as Officer Tutors (OT).

In the RAF, training officers work within the personnel department and are based in permanent RAF stations. As a training officer you could be posted to the School of Physical Training as the officer commanding the course design team, or you could be posted to RAF Honington, working with phase one recruits as a training and development advisor.

In all three services, there is the opportunity to command your own unit from about the age of 40.

Further promotion is usually into increasingly senior staff posts. It’s usual, as your career as an officer progresses, to receive highly-regarded academic and professional accreditation.

Advancement involves increased responsibility and may lead to a command and staff training course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, as preparation for a senior command or managerial appointment.

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