The Armed Forces and Emergency services sector in the UK breaks down into three key areas:
- Local public sector – police, firemen, ambulance services
- National public sector – army, royal air force, intelligence services employing 165,000+
- Private sector – companies supporting the above; from medical equipment, catering, production of vehicles and weaponry employing 300,000+ generating £35 billion per year
What should you prepare for?
Working conditions: Either fast-paced office work, working overseas in arduous physical conditions with the armed forces, or in a stressful and dangerous environment with the emergency services
Hours: You’d be looking at a regular 9am-5pm office hours for an intelligence role; in active military service are likely to be abroad for several months participating in 24-hour shift-work; emergency services can be on-call 24 hours a day, also working public holidays so be prepared to take that on
Starting salary: £22,000 – £26,000. A graduate officer (second lieutenant) in the army will start on £24,000, rising to nearly £38,000 after five years. Civil Service graduate roles expect to pay £25,000 – £27,000, with potential to rise to around the £45,000 mark after five years.