Although you can join up at 16, you can get more from army life if you join up after you turn 18. Here's why...
If you join at 16 (Junior entry):
- You're more likely to be put in the infantry. Infantry training is very basic, you won't learn a trade, and the risks in war are high.
- The English and maths courses you get at 16 or 17 (called Functional Skills) are not very good.
- You're more likely to be injured while training and have to leave.
- You're less likely to be promoted through the ranks (so you're less likely to get pay rises in the long run).
- Army bullying can be rough and if you're the youngest in your unit it can be hard to deal with.
But if you join at 18 (Standard entry):
- You get two more years now to get the grades you need in school or college - these will help you for the rest of your life.
- At 18, and with better qualifications, you get more army jobs to choose from (and more jobs in the RAF and navy too).
- You're more likely to be promoted through the ranks, with more pay each time.
- You'll be stronger - inside and out - and better able to deal with whatever the army throws at you.
- You'll have two more years to make your mind up, then you can decide as an adult, without needing your parents' permission.
And if you do wait until you're 18, the army will still be there and will still want you.
What do soldiers say?
Read the soldier forum to see what soldiers say about when to join.
Another reason to wait until you're 18 is that you'll be stronger then. The fitter and stronger you are. the more jobs you get to choose from. Find out more about how fit you need to be to sign up.