Did you do well in school today?

Now that life is going to be difficult for a few years, if potential university students think they may like a commission in the armed forces, the time to find out about this is when you are in the sixth form.

I will write about just one scheme from each service, there are more, do your research!

There are various schemes. If you are a brilliant student and you think you will do exceptionally well with your “A” levels, these are just some of the choices you have.

Award Criteria Academic excellence
The Army Undergraduate Bursary
An Army Undergraduate Bursary is awarded to approximately 250 candidates each year. It comprises an annual payment of £1000 while at university and a lump sum of £3000 on commissioning from Sandhurst, after which you are committed to a minimum three years return of service. However, it does also apply to undergraduates who have longer-term aspirations as well.

Award Criteria Academic excellence
The Navy Undergraduate Bursary
This scheme is for people who really want to get on in the Royal Navy and you will start university or college as an officer. You are paid a substantial salary for each year of your study: 1st year £11,337 2nd year £13,016 3rd year £14,615 4th year £15,954 You will complete one full year of Naval training before beginning your degree course. This consists of two terms at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and a period of time at sea.
Please note: All these sponsorship schemes require a certain period of service within the Royal Navy as part of their terms and conditions. Anyone receiving any assistance under any of these Schemes who then does not join the Royal Navy, or who leaves before the period of service is complete, may be required to repay some or all of the money they received.

Award Criteria Academic excellence
The Air Force Undergraduate Bursary (Engineers)
We sponsor 50 people each year to study for an engineering degree. Seven universities run accredited courses for this: Aston, Cambridge, Loughborough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumbria, Oxford and Southampton. If you’re accepted, we could pay £4,000 plus £1,500 for the 45 days’ training per academic year which you’ll do with us. In return, we’d expect you to join a University Support Unit, which is similar to a University Air Squadron, and spend 45 days a year on work experience and training with the RAF: spending time on flying stations, learning about the RAF, possibly even flying or taking part in expeditions. Then, after graduating, you’d do the Initial Officer Training course, join the RAF as an officer and serve for at least six years.

If you think you have what it takes, go for it.

If you sign up for six years (three at University and three in the service) you will have a lot more to offer any future employer. Some courses require six years after you leave University! First of all it will show you have some gumption. Secondly, it will show you have the get-up-and-go to get a degree without saddling yourself with debt. Thirdly it will show, providing you have acquired a good military reference, that you are able to handle large amounts of staff. Enough to put you straight into line management as a junior executive.

And fourthly, you may prove to be what they Forces are looking for and be offered a long term commission. A little hint here. The career officers try harder as they want to be invited to stay on, and the officers who only want to stay for their allotted six years don’t “push the boat out”. My advice for you is, push for the invitation to be invited for a regular commission. You can still leave at the end of the required period but if you have that invitation, it will mean much more to your boss of whichever company you end up working for in civvy street!


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