Educational Opportunities in the Army
People considering joining the Armed Forces for the sake of gaining vocational qualifications
are advised to contact the AT EASE helpline 020 7490 5223 on Sundays 5pm-7pm.
Army recruiters are currently stressing that serving soldiers can now undergo, entirely at the
Army’s expense, education or training courses which lead to qualifications that are applicable
to civilian employment. This appears to be an example of equivocation that is words that are
literally true but are intended to deceive.
The recruitment literature does not point out that, while it is true that many of the qualifications
offered in the Army are applicable to civilian employment, the qualification-holders will not be
free to take up civilian employment.
Under Queen’s Regulations for the Army 9086b the right to leave at the minimum age of twenty-two
years or after four years service, whichever is the later, is forfeited if a soldier does an
education or training course other than purely military training.
Just before starting a course, soldiers are asked to sign forms stating that, in return for this
educational opportunity, they voluntarily give up their right to give twelve months notice to
terminate their contracts. Many do so thinking, mistakenly, that they will still be allowed to
“buy themselves out” at a later stage. However Premature Voluntary Discharge by Purchase was
abolished in 1991 and may now only be applied for by those who joined the Army before that date*
Once the right to give twelve months notice is given up, the Army can retain the services of the
soldier for several years later.
*TACOS Handbook. Terms And Conditions Of Service in the British Army published by MOD 2002 page 37.