Being a woman in the Army: From joining the Reserves to travelling the world

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by Closer Online |
Published on

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Ever dream of packing in your day job to travel the world? Bored of your mundane routine, and after something fresh, new and exciting? A job in the Army might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but it's definitely an option worth considering – and could open doors you've never dreamed of.

Whatever preconceptions you might have, the Army's not just for the lads – and Closer is here to set the record straight. There are plenty of roles available for women, from engineering to communication, HR to combat.

Private Lauren Lucas is an Army Reservist, currently working full-time on an attachment at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Her role now is as a combat HR specialist, booking transport and accommodation for the Academy – but Lauren hopes to soon join the Regular Army as an officer.

"I started off at the University of London Officer Training Corps (OTC) while I was at university, and then I transferred to the Reserves when I graduated two years ago. This year I decided that I wanted to go regular, so I'm working at Sandhurst full-time while I go through the officer selection process," she explains.

If you're not sure whether a full-time Army job's right for you, Lauren says she'd thoroughly recommend joining the Reserves like she did. "You only have to do 27 days a year, and it's a fantastic opportunity for civilians." Not only has she made lifelong friends, Lauren says she's "done so many things that I'd just never do before I joined."

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As a Reserve, Lauren's organised a gruelling GR20 trek in Corsica, sailed from Scotland to Iceland, and later this year is due to embark on a sailing exercise from St Lucia to Panama. "You get to go on adventure training exercises around the world. The idea is to take you outside your comfort zone and push you to your limits, to make you more operationally effective. I've learned to ski and sail, and also done a lot of hiking, " she explains.

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"I've also got a CMI (Chartered Management Institute) level 5 award in Management as part of my OTC qualification – there are so many opportunities for learning and personal development, and the career progression is massive," Lauren adds.

For her, making the switch to from Reserves to Regulars was an obvious choice, "because I like the lifestyle and having the opportunity to travel. You can also change posts every two years, which keeps things exciting," she says.

Ok, but what about the press-ups and macho environment? While you will need to get fit before joining up, Lauren insists there's nothing to worry about – especially when it comes to laddish banter about 'running like a girl.'

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"We have three physical training sessions a week, and if I'm struggling on a run the men will say, 'come on, good effort, keep going'," she says. "There really is such a massive sense of belonging. You live and work together, so everyone's like family here, and the men are all very supportive."

Interested in a career in the Army? You should be! As well as offering fulfilling, exciting roles that you won't find in any run-of-the-mill office, the Army are also one of the few employers with no gender pay gap! Find out more about how to kick-start your military career here.


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