A training and education officer in the armed forces is a commissioned officer with management, educational and personnel duties, who is responsible for education and training support within one of the three armed services. They're often responsible for specialist or technical training.
As well as being a military officer whose role is to lead, motivate and manage, the work involves teaching and acting as a careers consultant and training adviser.
Officers must also prepare their team, ensuring their readiness to fulfil their roles in the armed forces, directing them when circumstances demand action, and using their skills and competence.
Training and education officers are often located at education and training centres within military bases, or cover a geographical area.
There will also be occasions when they'll be required to fulfil field operational roles.
Duties typically involve:
- 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 work;
- tutoring senior officers preparing for promotion;
- coordinating language training, perhaps including EFL (English as a Foreign Language) 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.
In addition, in field operations, activities might include:
- media, civil liaison, community relations or transitional roles;
- delivering low-level language or cultural awareness training.
- In the Army and Royal Air Force (RAF), graduates enter the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst or the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell as graduate officer cadets with a starting salary in the region of £25.000.
- In the Royal Navy, graduates enter the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth as Sub-Lieutenants, also starting on a salary of around £25,000.
- Officer commissions in all three of the armed forces are confirmed upon successful completion of initial officer training. In all three armed forces salaries increase to around £30,000.
- Salaries at senior level/with 8 to 10+ years experience range from around £48,500 to £90,000+, depending on rank and seniority, with other additional allowances, such as a non-contributory pension scheme/gratuity and subsidised accommodation.
Salary data from Army, RAF and Royal Navy websites. Income figures are intended as a guide only.
What to expect
- Most officers work in the UK in bases and stations where security restrictions operate, but there is also the possibility of prolonged periods abroad or on board a ship.
- Working hours and conditions typically include regular unsocial hours.
- Job rotation and relocation can be expected 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.
- Self-employment is not possible.
- The armed services are equal opportunities employers and promote multi-culturalism, equality and diversity. They are all members of Opportunity Now, Race for Opportunity and Stonewall.
- All posts are equally open to men and women. The opportunities for women graduates in education and training are good and increasing. Women are not recruited into direct combat roles, but they may sometimes operate in direct support of combat units.
- 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 are given a high level of responsibility early in your career. The work is challenging and varied but it may be stressful at times.
- Travel within a working day, absence from home at night, and overseas work or travel are frequent.
In all three armed forces a degree is essential and entry is not possible with a HND only.
A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is not a pre-requisite, but teacher training can be advantageous.
The Army will consider overseas applications. For further details, please refer to Army Careers.
The Royal Navy and the RAF will consider applications form 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 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. Applicants are also required to undertake a number of fitness and mental agility tasks, including verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills, concentration and spatial orientation. Applicants are also tested on their potential leadership skills.
The Army and the RAF follow a similar process.
You will need to show:
- communication skills;
- self-motivation and flexibility;
- ability to lead and motivate;
- a good level of physical fitness.
For most branches of the armed forces, there are medical and eyesight requirements, and age limits. Physical fitness with good sight and colour perception is needed. University liaison officers (ULOs) can give you up-to-date information and also give advice on vacation training, cadetships and familiarisation visits.
Your careers service can give details of your nearest Army, Navy or Air Force ULO.
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 will be expected to demonstrate a range of aptitudes.
There are only four employers within the armed forces:
- Royal Air Force (RAF);
- Royal Marines;
- Royal Navy.
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;
- 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 her 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 also providing training for other countries' armed forces, both in the UK and abroad.
An officer's appointment in one of the armed forces services might involve working with the other services, the UN or NATO. Officers might also work at the MoD headquarters.
Look for job vacancies at:
- Army Careers
- Royal Air Force Careers
- Royal Navy Careers
- Armed forces university liaison officers (ULOs).
- Local armed forces recruitment offices.
- Professional journals.
All three armed forces recruit graduates as officers and provide initial officer training 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, initial officer training (IOT) is 30 weeks, taking place at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
In the RAF, officers also begin with IOT, lasting 30 weeks and taking place at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell College.
Across the armed forces, IOT is designed to build leadership skills. All the programmes include military, physical and academic training. Officers are taught about military organisation, defence issues, current affairs and management skills, and learn strategic skills, such as negotiation, communication, decision-making and leadership.
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 attend a nine-week educational and training course to become learning development officers (LDOs). Those who do not already have a Postgraduate Certificate of Education in Education (PGCE), will be expected to qualify for this within two years of commission.
Following initial officer training in the Royal Navy, Training Management Officers undergo a 13-week training management foundation course.
Those wanting to work with the Royal Marines have the opportunity to complete the All Arms Commando Course.
After initial officer training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth or the RAF Cranwell College, newly commissioned officers are posted to their chosen regiment or corps, to a ship for fleet training, or to a squadron or station.
Once in place, they undertake specialist training to enable them to gain the detailed skills and particular knowledge that will be needed before assuming their first command.
For Training Management Officers in the Royal Navy promotion to Lieutenant is automatic, provided the officer passes the training and performs to an acceptable level. Following that, opportunities exist for promotion to Lieutenant Commander and beyond.
Throughout their career, they 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.
Learning Development Officers (LDOs) follow a professional development path from Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) to Masters-level degrees.
After commissioning and gaining their PGCE and Maters, LDOs train as Training Development Advisers (TDAs), working in training schools, headquarters and policy directorates at single-service and Defence level. The next step is becoming an Officer Tutor (OT).
In the RAF, training officers work within the personnel department and are based in permanent RAF stations. Training officers could be posted to the School of Physical Training, as the officer commanding the course design team; or they could be posted to RAF Honington, working with phase one recruits as the training and development advisor.
Working within the RAF Learning Forces is also an option, which entails ensuring that the lifelong learning of all servicemen and women is promoted and delivered, so that they can make the most of the in-service opportunities available.
The normal route in all three services is to achieve the command of your own unit at about the age of 40.
Further promotion is usually into increasingly senior staff posts. As officers' careers progress, they 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 a preparation for a senior command or managerial appointment.