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Careers in the Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is a central government department with a mission to protect our country and provide the ultimate guarantee of its security and independence, as well as helping to protect its values and interests abroad.
To do this we must meet a complex range of threats and challenges in a rapidly changing world. We must adapt to stay ahead and shape our capability to address tomorrow’s threats, not yesterday’s. We will build more versatile and agile forces for the future, and ensure our people have what they need to do what we ask of them. We cannot do everything on our own, so we must work effectively with our allies and partners.
We offer a range of careers both in the armed forces, reserves and civilians so however you want to contribute to our mission, either through serving in the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force or as a civil servant, there will be something to suit you.
If you are interested in a career in defence, please see the armed forces websites:
The UK reserve forces play a vital part in our nation’s defence. Find out how you can get involved and what is on offer for reserves.
All types of people are putting their spare time to better use as reserves in the armed forces. Being a reserve is as rewarding as it is challenging. You’ll train and deploy alongside our regular forces, doing things you never pictured yourself doing, learning new skills and meeting people who, like you, want more from life. Read about it from others who have taken up the challenge: reserves case studies.
All the reserve forces (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force) are actively recruiting: follow the links to find out what opportunities are available to you and how to join.
Royal Navy Reserves ‘life without limits’
Army Reserves (formerly Territorial Army) ‘be the best’
Royal Marines Reserves ‘it’s a state of mind’
Royal Air Force Reserves ‘live a challenging life’
Special Forces (Reserves)
You may also wish to consider becoming a Cyber Reserve
The Army offers undergraduate bursaries of between £6,000 to £25,000 (up to £75,000 for medical, dental or veterinary students) for students with leadership potential and the appetite to begin a career as an Army Officer after graduation. If you’re about to start a degree programme or are already studying find out more on the British Army website.
The Army Officer Scholarship Scheme (AOSS) offers financial support to future Army Officers studying for A-Levels, Scottish Highers, or equivalent qualifications. You could be given an award of up to £3,000 when you’re in Academic Year 13 (Sixth Form). Find out more on the British Army website.
Are you an employer of reserves? Is one of your employees thinking of joining the reserves?
Find out more about reserve service and what benefits it can bring to your organisation in the Reservist Employer Toolkit.
Find out how Defence Relationship Management supports both reserves and their employers.
Find out how you can use your skills as a reserve and progress your career at the same time on the NHS careers reservist website.The MOD is also recruiting for civilian doctors and nurses. Further details can be found at Civil Service Jobs website.
At the Ministry of Defence we offer engaging jobs in work that really matters; jobs which have a direct impact on the quality of services we provide. Roles can offer great job satisfaction and there are many opportunities to develop and progress both within MOD and across the wider Civil Service. Certain posts, notably those concerned with security and intelligence, might be reserved for British citizens, but this will not normally prevent access to a wide range of developmental opportunities across a very wide number of professions.
We employ people in so many different roles and in many locations across the UK and abroad. We have jobs in policy, finance, HR, IT commercial and project management and all the types of jobs you would expect to find in a government department. We also employ doctors, dentists, teachers, police, fire service, quantity surveyors, engineers to name a few. We have many opportunities to become an apprentice in the Ministry of Defence. So think of any type of job and you may find it in the MOD.
We value diversity and are committed to being an equal opportunities employer. We aim to develop all our staff to enable them to make a full contribution to meeting MOD objectives, and to fulfil their own potential on merit. We offer flexible working patterns to enable our employees to balance home and work responsibilities; and we treat people fairly irrespective of their working arrangements.
The Ministry of Defence is committed to attracting and retaining people from across the full range of backgrounds and enabling flexible ways of working as the norm. We offer maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks of statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 2 weeks full pay.
Find out a bit more about what it’s like working for the MOD
For details of current vacancies and how to apply for civilian jobs in the Ministry of Defence, visit the Civil Service Jobs website.
We also have employment opportunities in the wider Ministry of Defence such as in our Trading Funds and Executive Agencies.
For information about opportunities in Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) visit Working for (DE&S).
For information about opportunities with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), visit Working for Dstl.
For information about opportunities with The Defence Electronic & Components Agency (DECA) visit Working for DECA
For information about opportunities with the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) visit Working for UKHO
Non-civil service jobs are advertised on our departmental pages, please see Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) for more information.
You can get detailed information and download an application form from the MDP recruitment website www.mod.police.uk.
MOD is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the UK. Find out about apprenticeships for civil servants and the armed forces.
A wide range of apprenticeships are available to new and existing MGS staff, making them a great option for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in their current role or to support career progression. Apprenticeships are available in many professional areas, including operational delivery, customer service and leadership and management.
The MGS recognise the value of learning in enabling sustainable delivery of its business objectives and have invested in a full time apprenticeship coordinator to provide help and support to the apprentice and line manager.
Whether involved in combat, peacekeeping duties or the provision of humanitarian aid following natural disasters, the armed forces depend on the support and expertise provided by our civilian staff. We would like this to be you.
The MOD offers many varied opportunities for school leavers throughout the UK where you can make a real difference to defence. The number of different careers are too many to list in full, but they include personal secretary, pay clerk, commercial officer, project and admin support, finance clerk, commodity manager, course administrator and recruitment and marketing, along with many others.
All these roles are absolutely vital to our mission in defence, giving a unique vision and access to some of the most interesting work in government. Perhaps you could be a commercial officer buying vehicles for the army. Perhaps you could be a personal secretary to a senior civil servant who decides the latest defence policy. Perhaps you could be a commodity manager routeing supplies to a recent disaster area.
But we don’t just focus on your current job, we place an enormous emphasis on your future. Every single person in the organisation is given comprehensive training and development, including the opportunity to develop cross disciplines.
As the MOD is so large it is entirely possible to change career direction, perhaps even study for professional qualifications, while retaining your status and similar conditions of employment, including your pension and leave allowance. Examples would be engineers moving into personnel or accountancy, and administrators becoming graphic designers or logicians.
This is in addition to a number of management development schemes aimed at the full spectrum of the MOD workforce, designed to help you fulfil your true potential.
Welbeck College in Leicestershire is an MOD sponsored sixth form college that invests in the future of young people who have a strong desire to take up a science or engineering based career in the armed forces or the Civil Service.
Welbeck has provided the army with many of its future technical officers for over 50 years. In 2004 the college became a quad-service institution, admitting students with a career ambition to join The Royal Navy, The British Army, The Royal Air Force or to become MOD Civil Service engineers.
The college has become one of the UK’s top sixth form colleges and has an outstanding academic reputation. It offers a unique programme of personal, physical and intellectual development which provides our students with a rounded education specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s modern technical armed forces.
The programme does not end after a 2 year A-level programme, the MOD continues to monitor and support students through university and on to professional training with their respective armed service or within the MOD Civil Service.
Our premiere development scheme for graduates is Fast Stream, although many graduates also enter through applying for vacancies on Civil Service Jobs.
The defence commercial graduate programme recruits graduates for MOD purchasing and contract management roles. Full details available in the Commercial Graduate brochure.
The MOD also recruits engineering and science graduates into DESG via various schemes.
We process 3 main types of National Security Vetting (NSV) checks and clearances.
Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) for people employed in posts with proximity to public figures, access to information or material assessed to be of value to terrorists or unescorted access to establishments assessed to be at risk from terrorist attack. A CTC does not allow a person access to or knowledge of protectively marked assets.
Security Check (SC) for people employed in posts which have substantial access to secret assets or occasional controlled access to top secret assets.
Developed Vetting (DV) is needed for people with substantial unsupervised access to top secret assets.
A small number of clearances are granted where the risks are managed through follow up work and monitoring. We call this activity ‘Aftercare’. We also process Aftercare for all MOD clearances that are granted normally.
See United Kingdom Security Vetting: forms and guidance.
The Ministry of Defence is committed to recruiting and retaining the best possible people from across the country, regardless of background, gender, ethnicity, working pattern, caring responsibilities, sexual orientation or, for Civil Servants, whether they are disabled.
This is not only morally the right thing to do, but is fundamental to the operational effectiveness of defence.
We are striving to be an employer of choice through recognising, encouraging and celebrating diversity, and ensuring everyone in defence plays their part in promoting an inclusive working environment and respecting and valuing the unique contribution of each individual.
Our work to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation is being driven by the Defence Diversity and Inclusion Programme which was established in 2013 and covers both civilian and military employees.
As a part of this programme we are working to meet the government’s aspiration for 10% of new recruits into the armed forces to be from BAME communities by 2020. Additionally we are striving to meet a target of 15% of new recruits into the armed forces to be female by 2020.
While recruitment is an important element of our work, the wider Defence Diversity and Inclusion Programme takes a much broader view of diversity and inclusion and is driving real change by embedding diversity and inclusion within our leadership and culture and taking steps to increase the retention and progression of people from under represented groups. This all encompassing approach to diversity and inclusion is essential if the department is to retain the high quality people that we recruit.
Read more about equality and diversity in the Royal Navy and the British Army.
The MOD is a member of the following organisations:
UK armed forces biannual diversity statistics
MOD diversity Dashboard
All candidates will be treated respectfully, equitably and honestly irrespective of race, ethnic origin, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation or social background. The armed forces recognise and value individuals from diverse backgrounds who bring with them fresh ideas, knowledge, experience and talent.
The armed forces offer occupational leave schemes which follow, and in some cases, exceed statutory provision for maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
All servicewomen regardless of their length of service are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave. Eligible Servicewomen are also entitled to receive statutory maternity pay. The Armed Forces Occupational Maternity Scheme (AFOMS) provides qualifying women (those who have at least a year’s continuous service and who intend to return to work for a minimum of 12 months following maternity leave) with full pay for the first 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave.
Servicewomen who have given birth are screened from deployment in the UK or overseas for at least 6 months after the birth of their child, unless they volunteer otherwise. The services also endeavour not to deploy both serving parents at the same time, where this does not compromise operational capability.
The armed forces occupational paternity leave scheme provides qualifying fathers with 14 days of ordinary paternity leave, instead of the statutory provision of 10 days, with 2 weeks’ full pay rather than the statutory paternity pay rate at the time of the birth of a child or a child’s placement in the case of adoptions. Additional paternity leave was introduced for members of the armed forces in 2011 and this enables parents to share responsibility for looking after their children in the case of births and placements for adoption.
The armed forces are exempt from the flexible working provisions of UK employment legislation, as working patterns that might compromise the operational flexibility of the armed forces are incompatible with regular service. Arrangements are in place to improve, where possible, the work-life balance of both male and female personnel. These include:
Transfer of leave between spouses and civil partners: this allows a service person to donate or receive up to 10 days of annual leave to their civil partner or spouse. This can be useful if one partner has used up much of their leave, or if a partner has more leave than they can carry over into the next year.
Call forward of leave: this allows a service person to bring 10 days of leave from the next leave year, and use them in the current leave year. This can be helpful if the service person is aware that they will deploy in the next leave year, and will find themselves unable to use all of that year’s leave entitlement, due to operational commitments.
Enhanced leave: this allows service personnel who have served in the armed forces for 15 years or more a once in career opportunity to take 10 weeks (50 working days) off work in a block, by trading in their 30 days leave allowance for that year. This gives personnel the opportunity to take up once in a lifetime opportunities, have that extension built, or simply take a period of much deserved down time.
Flexible working: this has always existed within the armed forces, but are being more widely encouraged. There are 3 types of flexible working:
compressed hours: allows service personnel to potentially work slightly longer some days of the week in order to take a shorter day.
working from home: allows service personnel to use existing IT to work from home on either a regular or infrequent basis.
variable start and finish times: allows a service person to start and finish at different times during the working week.
Further schemes and services available for armed forces personnel and their families, including support through the Armed Forces Covenant on education, employment, housing, finance and accommodation, are available here.
Being a regular member of the armed forces infers a commitment to move, or be moved, to locations around the UK and overseas. We understand the impact this can have on service personnel and particularly their families and children who may travel with them. With this in mind, we have made it a condition of service to ensure personnel are provided with high quality subsided accommodation whilst they are serving.
The accommodation is a fundamental part of the overall package for service personnel and, depending on individual circumstances, can take the form of either publicly provided family or single accommodation either at their duty station or very nearby to it. MOD has targets to ensure the accommodation provided is of good quality, suitably located and affordable; indeed, when compared to renting similar property types in the private sector, charges payable for MOD provided accommodation are considerably lower.
In addition to providing services accommodation, the MOD also operates the Forces Help to Buy scheme. The scheme offers military personnel an interest free advance of up to 50% of their gross annual salary (capped at £25,000) to assist them buying their first home or, in particular circumstances, extending their existing home or moving property within the UK or Republic of Ireland. The advance is repaid directly from salary over 10 years.
More broadly, and in recognition of those personnel wanting to own their own home when they leave the military, the government has given personnel priority for government funded shared ownership schemes including the popular Help to Buy equity scheme. Further details about these and other affordable housing schemes can be found at Forces Help to Buy: help to get on the property ladder.
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