Your Best Body

Sure, a life in the Bri­tish Army of­fers amaz­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties – but it also boasts a cul­ture that sets you up with friends for life…

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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 at the bar 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. 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 cou­ples’ 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 nineto-five job: you can travel the world and your work mates be­come friends for life. What’s not to love about that?’

I knew I’d never be suited to a nine-to-five civvy job

Team­work’s at the heart of Army life

Stephanie’s ready for duty… Be­fore glam­ming up for fun af­ter hours

Want to make friends for life? Head to Look.co.uk/army for more info

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