• Background South West

  • career-training

    Sector Overview

    Armed Forces & Emergency Services

    • In 2012-2013 the spending on Defense Services in the UK totaled £34.3 billion

    • The number of full-time trained personnel in the UK armed forces is 156,000, with around two thirds of that being the Army workforce

    • There are 11 submarines and 66 ships in the Royal Navy

    • The RAF is the oldest air force in the world

    • In 2011-2012 the Fire and Rescue service attended 272,000 fires

    • There are 129,000 full-time police officers in 43 forces in England and Wales

    • You can work in over 350 different roles in the Ambulance Service

    There is definitely a lot of variety in this sector, whether it is working in the Army, RAF, Navy, Police, Fire and Rescue or the Ambulance Service, there is one common theme, the protection and rescue of the nation’s civilians.

    The Armed Forces are involved with more than just combat; there is the huge amount of humanitarian work they are part of. They aid in disaster relief, such as the recent events in the Pacific Ocean with mass earthquakes in countries like Japan and New Zealand. The training provided by the Armed Forces is second to none, and can include first rate education in the form of Apprenticeships and degrees.

    Emergency Services in the UK are world-renowned and have just as much variety. Each service has a big administrative system for those who prefer to assist from an office. There is much collaboration between each service; the fire service can cut open a crashed car and a paramedic can help the injured victim, all while the police secure the surrounding area.


    Armed Forces & Emergency Services

    Royal Army

    The Army is split into two forces; the Royal Army and the Territorial Army (a reserve force). The latter can be done part time and suits people who want to train and work at the same time. Whoever you serve with, you could be based at home or abroad, or working with other countries’ forces in international emergencies. Starting salaries are between £13,000 and £14,000, plus a tax free lump sum called a ‘bounty’ for people serving in the TA. Your pay starts as soon as you begin training.

    Royal Air Force

    The Air Force guards our country from the sky, but as they say “You don’t have to be a pilot to fly in the RAF”. You could work as a navigator or a gunner. Or if you prefer to stay on the ground, you could work alongside the Navy on an Aircraft Carrier or at a base maintaining grounded aircraft. Starting salaries are around £13,700 and you are paid while you train.

    Royal Navy

    Protectors of our oceans, the Navy are experts at marine based combat. Whether it’s as a shipman working out at sea or as a highly trained, super-elite Royal Marine infiltrating enemy bases, you’ll be trained in one of the most prestigious military organisations in the world. Salaries start at around £13,500 and like the other armed forces; you are paid while you train.

    Police Force

    The police look after our safety in the local community. There are plenty of areas to specialise in, such as dog handling, riot response, traffic and highway patrol and undercover (CID) and your work will vary massively from day to day. You can expect to start on around £23,000 after you complete your training.

    Fire Brigade

    Fires can occur anywhere, from the home and the office to factories and motorways. Each situation requires a different solution. Simple house fires risk family’s lives whereas chemical fires can lead to explosions and endanger a wider area. You’ll have to be brave, and an understanding of health and safety is part and parcel of this rewarding career. Expect to start off on around £20,500.


    Paramedics are part of the response units who attend medical emergencies. Most paramedics ride in Ambulances, but there are specialised roles such as air support (riding in a helicopter) and rapid response (who use cars instead of ambulances). It’s a great way to work in the medical sector if you don’t fancy being confined to a hospital, but be prepared to learn a lot of medical terminology so that you can diagnose somebody as quickly as possible. Paramedics earn around £21,000 when they first start out and earn more as they gain more experience.


    Armed Forces & Emergency Services


    In all the Armed Forces, you will be given basic training in areas such as combat mindset, weapons training and military etiquette. Then, your training will diversify depending on what your role is within that force. You don’t actually need any academic qualifications to be recruited and qualifications can be gained while or before you serve. However, if you wish to enter into Officer training, recruiters often look for solid academic achievements, though you can apply for Officer training if you have been serving as a regular soldier.

    Intermediate & Advanced Apprenticeships

    Apprenticeships are a great way to get into the Armed Forces and Emergency Services and allow you to gain the relevant skills you need for your field. Apprenticeships will result in a Level 2 qualification for Intermediate Level and Level 3 for an Advanced Apprenticeship. The award will take the form of a BTEC, Diploma or NVQ. Here are the frameworks for the Apprenticeships available:
    Emergency Fire Operations • Policing • Health (Emergency Care Assistant) • HM Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force)

    College Courses

    Some colleges offer courses which act as a medium between education and work such as Police Studies. Paramedics and Fire Services have their own colleges you can attend to begin your career.

    More Info

    Armed Forces & Emergency Services

    Case Study

    Armed Forces & Emergency Services

    Senior Aircraftwoman Victoria Holden

    Senior Aircraftwoman Victoria Holden is a member of Cabin Crew working on the Voyager Airbus 330 Aircraft at RAF Brize Norton – the UK’s main airport for worldwide military operations. Cabin Crew is just one of the roles you can choose as a Catering and Hospitality Specialist in the RAF.

    “Part of the job is Air to Air refuelling, which is a fantastic experience that I will never tire of seeing,” says Victoria. “We trail fast jets such as a Tornados and refuel them during their journey. The aircraft will be so close that it’s an amazing experience and a sight to behold.”

    “There are so many opportunities for you to see the world. I have already visited Canada, USA, Malaysia, South Africa, Kenya, Holland, and Germany, to name just a few. I always wanted to join the RAF and looking back it was the best decision I ever made.”

    For your first tour in Catering, you will be posted to an Officers’ or Sergeants’ Mess within a RAF base. Here you will gain experience in the dining room, bar and reception areas. As your career progresses, you will have the opportunity to be trained in new skills, including management and leadership.

    “At the start I was, as you can imagine very nervous, but once I graduated and my family came to visit, it proved to be the most rewarding experience I have had. You make friends for life during your training.”

    With more than 50 careers to choose from, Catering and Hospitality Specialist is just one of the paths that you can follow in the RAF.