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The reasons for women to get involved in the British Army are endless. There’s a huge range of training and education programmes available, as well as the opportunity to provide a vital role in a challenging and rewarding industry. But it can also boast an active social life, too, with recruits revealing that they make friends for life.
Look’s Commercial Manager Stephanie Dawson went to find out more about Army life, seeing first-hand what it means to be an Officer – and she was more than a little surprised to learn how much fun it really can be.
The Mess is an in-house social club that forms an integral part of the British Army lifestyle. Events give soldiers and Officers the chance to unwind and forge friendships.
‘The Officers I spoke to said that events were a great way to bond out of uniform,’ says Stephanie. ‘They share their experiences while having a laugh!’
‘There’s a big social side to the Army,’ Sergeant Emma Coulton reveals.
‘When we’ve had a really busy day we’ll chill out together or we’ll play netball to let off steam.’
These bonding sessions are pretty important though. Whether they’re training or on duty, recruits know that the Army relies on trust and teamwork – and that’s just as true off the job.
One thing that really struck Stephanie on her visit to the barracks was the variety of different people she had the pleasure of meeting.
‘The Army welcomes everyone,’ says Stephanie. ‘You’re judged on how hard you work. As long as you do that, you can look forward to working your way up the ranks with loads of guaranteed benefits.’
The steady pay (as an Officer, pay after training starts at £30,922), subsidised gym facilities and 38 days’ annual holiday are attractive perks.
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The Army is an equal opportunities employer and has a strong LGBT network, plus female recruits can expect childcare benefits and great maternity pay.
Married soldiers even benefit from subsidised families’ accommodation.
Add all that to the on-the-job qualifications that the Army has to offer, and it’s no surprise that plenty of recruits pursue very different careers in the Army as they move up through the ranks, gaining skills that could be used should they ever want to move into ‘civvy life’.
‘The female soldiers I met loved their job,’ says Stephanie. ‘One Officer had started out in the Army Air Corps and now she’s part of the Royal Horse Artillery. It’s just not your average nine- to-five job: you can travel the world and your work mates become friends for life.
‘What’s not to love about that?’