Career as an Army Linguist

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Pauline joined the Army recently and is in her first few weeks of basic training. She joined after getting a university degree in languages and hopes to get into the Intelligence Corps.

What made you join the Army?

I thought about it a few years ago but I decided to go to university first. I wanted to use my language skills in an international organisation like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).

Language related courses:

How are you finding the basic training?

How2Become - Army

Very tough! Especially in the first few weeks when there's a lot to get used to. For instance, wearing my uniform, looking after my kit and keeping it tidy, as well as physical fitness.

Were you very fit when you joined?

I was quite fit before as I used to do martial arts and prepared for joining by running. I'm a lot fitter now than when I joined. We have to do fitness tests and 'tabbing' which is a four-mile march, carrying kit and a rifle. It gets easier week by week as I get fitter but it's best to be reasonably fit before joining.

What do you learn?

We cover the basic military skills like map reading, first aid and weapon training. But I have learnt so much more than this. I've learnt how to manage my time so I can fit everything into each busy day including my duties and revision for tests. I've also learnt to live with people who I didn't know – some older than me and some younger.

Which part of the Army will you join?

I'm going into the Intelligence Corps. In the Intelligence Corps other ranks get a lot of responsibility and are trusted with sensitive information. If I do well I may have a chance to be commissioned as an officer later on.

What job do you hope to do?

I'm hoping to use my languages. My main language is Spanish. I will probably have to learn another language – perhaps Russian or Arabic.

What's the best part?

Getting to know all the new people I've met since I joined the Army. I've made some very good friends.

And the worst?

When I don't perform as well as I know I can.

Pauline's tip

  • You have to be well-organised so you can do all the things you need to do and still get some free time.

Becoming a Linguist

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) are required. These must include English Language. An A/H Level (or equivalent) is also preferred.
  • Recruits for the Intelligence Corps attend an Army Training Regiment at Winchester in Hampshire. The twelve-week course teaches a range of skills such as map-reading, weapons handling, drill, first aid, fieldcraft, minor tactics as well as helping recruits improve their fitness.
  • Successful recruits go on to further military trade or employment training. Once completed, soldiers are promoted to lance corporal.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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