In partnership with the British Army
All humans have an innate survival instinct. But do you ever wonder how far your fight or flight response can be pushed in the depths of the wilderness?
It’s a question Infantry soldiers – men and women at the heart of the British Army – have to ask themselves anytime they’re dropped into unknown territory in the cover of darkness. Limited food and water. No shelter. Their training kicks in so they can survive the night.
This is how the British Army turns city-dwelling camping novices into Bear Grylls:
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Luckily, the British Army doesn’t leave its Guardsmen – Infantry soldiers by trade, who lead from the front as the heart of the Army – out in the cold to drink their own urine.
Supplied with 24 hour rations and all the necessary camouflage, the training operations teach recruits how to stay safe and dry – and protect themselves from those Belize tarantulas.
Not only that, an Infantry Army job in the Guards – one of the closest knit group of soldiers – provides the support system needed from your comrades to get you through the toughest situations.
As part of the Infantry, your mission is ‘To defeat the enemy through close contact’ and, unlike other roles in the Army, it’s the only place where you will get up close and in on the action.
You could be on a peace keeping mission, fighting in a war or helping people after a disaster. You may also guard VIPs and march in parades.
Like all soldiers, Guardsmen can take qualifications and move into all sorts of other roles – whether that be in the Armoured Infantry, Mechanised Infantry or Air Assault parachute regime, to name but a few – far beyond the red uniform and Bearskin headgear.
Those stoic figures are actually versed in full combat and are ready for anything when they go to the front line. So, a career as a Guardsman doesn’t just mean standing still.
It can give you opportunities and jump-start your career with qualifications including a variety of driving licences, awards from the Institute of Leadership & Management, Apprenticeships in Security, Communications, Engineering, to name just a few.
Also available to all Guardsmen are BTEC Level 2 Certificates in Relief Operations Skills, NVQ Level 2 Public Service, and also Parachuting training with the option to apply for all arms P Company course where you will be posted to the Army’s airborne forces for two years.
On top of that, all Guardsmen get posted on rotation at Wellington Barracks for ceremonial duty, which means having the opportunity to live in central London.
Soldiers – including Guardsmen – on an Army career path start with basic military training and develop into true experts in combat, able to travel the world using their skills.
Once they’ve mastered the training of an Infantry soldier, they’re able to specialise in dozens of different roles; from Machine Gunner, Mortarman, Driver, Sniper, Anti-tank Missile Operator, Assault Pioneer, to the more musically-minded Pipes and Drums.
So, what does it take to become an Infantry soldier? First off, you’ll need to have a passion for travel, risks and adrenaline, outdoor activities and fitness – as well as want to fulfil your potential at decision making and leadership.
Trust and loyalty are essential within the Army – and no more so than in the infantry. It makes an infantry regiment one of the closest and most supportive units in the Army, full of people who trust one another with their lives.
Fitness plays a major part of Army life too and is particularly important within an infantry team, so the community offers all kinds of activities, from team sports like football and rugby to boxing, skiing, scuba-diving and mountain climbing.
Recruits will spend the first 26 weeks of their career on the Combat Infantryman’s Course at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) based in Catterick. Alongside first class training facilities, the ITC also has a cinema room, convenience store, a Subway, pool tables, games consoles, 4-lane bowling alley and a gym.
Training is intense to begin with, so recruits only have a few weekends to themselves – though families are encouraged to visit during week three to see how they’re progressing and to take advantage of the facilities.
However after week 7, you’d have most weekends free, as well as a week off after week 13.
Like most jobs, joining the Army is hard work, but this role offers so much more than the letters at the end of your name when you get a degree.
Instead of crunching numbers, you could be supporting comrades. Instead of battling with the boss you could be sharing banter with your battalion.
Instead of turning cogs in the wheel, you could share a purpose with your pals.
An Infantry spokesperson told UNILAD:
We are the British Army Infantry, respected around the world. We will provide the best training, support and education through a structured career path, offering a better future and the choice of being part of an exceptional fighting force.
Your time in the Army – whether it’s a few years or a full career – could set you up for life. To find out more, go to Army: Best The Best.