Army Reservists serve in the Army in their spare time. They can choose to train in the evenings and at the weekend, combining Army life and their day to day life - and of course they're paid for their time.


The Army Reserve is the British Army's reserve force - and used to be known as the Territorial Army or TA. When you join the Army Reserve, you'll get involved in everything that the Regular Army does - from combat to peacekeeping and humanitarian work. You'll be given the opportunity to learn trade skills, and can take advantage of the opportunities that Regular soldiers have too - like adventurous training. You'll be paid for the time you serve.

The difference is that Reservists are not full-time soldiers. Many Reservists have a day job.

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Recent polls suggest that 55% of workers gain a sense of identity from their career. However, linking work so closely with who you are as a person can be damaging, particularly in today’s tumultuous world of work.

In this episode, host Natalie Morris speaks to Headteacher and Director of The Reach Out Project Manny Awoyelu who tells about his journey from excluded pupil to Headteacher and charity director. We also hear from Army Reservist Charlie, who’s currently working to turn his civilian role as a surgeon into one within The British Army.

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Reserve centre finder

Most people serve near where they live. There are Army Reserve centres across Britain, who will welcome you in for a chat and to see what it's like.

ways to join

why did you join the Army Reserve?

Commonly asked questions

Do Reservists get paid?

Certainly! Individuals are paid per day or part day of service and these are known as Reserve Service Days (RSD) and the pay is the same as the regular army daily rate of pay plus 5% X Factor which is included to compensate for the occasional nuisances of service.

Pay rates are decided each year and are increased in line with rank and seniority. There is a Final Salary Pension scheme based on years of service and any payment in retirement will depend on time served overall and rank and seniority on retirement.

There is paid leave which is added as an extra day’s pay for each ten days served. There is no need to go on leave to get this as it is paid automatically when an individual has served 10 days.

Travel and subsistence costs are met generally up to a maximum of 50 miles from the unit.

A tax-free bounty is paid if all training and mandatory tests have been completed together with the required number of RSDs. These are 27 for local units and 19 for national. The bounty ranges from £470 in the first year to £1,862 after five years.

What's the training like?

You'll need to do your basic training - but this can be arranged to fit in around your day job. You don't have to do all the training at once. It can be completed in shorter modules or in one go.

After a candidate has successfully passed selection and been accepted into service, he or she will have to undergo basic recruit training either over several weekends or in a consolidated period of weeks.

Then there is a further special to arm, skill-based period of training which will equip the individual for service in the specific unit of choice and in many cases equip a soldier with new skills that are readily transferrable to civilian jobs.

After that you will be expected to attend a training evening each week (generally Tuesday or Wednesday evenings), one or two weekends training a month and two weeks continuous training which may be the unit collective training camp or may be a course.

National units normally do two weekends and two weeks.

Officers will do different training and a lot of it will be at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).


The Territorial Army (TA) was renamed the Army Reserve in 2012, as part of a move to modernise the organisation and make it more relevant to a 21st century role. As a result the Army Reserve has a much more central role in today's Army.

Happy Reservist

Do Reservists go on operations?

Yes, as an Army Reservist, you may be asked to go on operations, working alongside full time soldiers and officers. This could be in the UK or deployed overseas.

Individuals are liable for mobilisation (to be called up) under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA96) but this is normally with the agreement of the individual and the employer and is voluntary but may be compulsory if the Government decides.

Can i transfer from Reserve to regular?

Yes, it's quite common for Reservists to become full time soldiers. You may have to go through interviews and a selection process, depending on the role that you want, although for many roles the selection is the same. You may have to undergo further training to equip you for your new job. Your Commanding Officer will be able to advise you.

What's the difference between Regular and Reserve?

Officers and soldiers in the Regular Army are employed full time to serve. Reservists are paid to serve in their spare time, and often have different day jobs.

How long do i have to stay in?

As long as you like or as long as you can! You are not committed to a set period and can leave at any time. You are not tied in to a contract, and you can leave at any point. It is also up to you how many hours you spend as a Reservist, although you can receive extra payment if you meet the minimum commitment (usually 27 days a year).


Promotion can be expected depending on an individual’s attitude, aptitude, attendance and training.

Can I try it before I join?

Yes - your local unit would love to see you. If you arrange a visit, you'll get a good ideas as to what happens, and chances are you can join the drill nights while your application is processed.


The minimum age for joining is 18 but individuals can apply at 17 and 9 months.  Maximum age is 43 in most cases.

Do I have to choose a role?

Most people who become Reservists start by going to their nearest unit, as locality is one of the most important elements of the Army Reserve. Each unit will have plenty of roles available for you to choose from.

Reservist commitment

How much time you spend is really up to you - training is flexible and can fit around your life. Most roles will ask you to aim for 27 days a year - and your weekly training session at your unit will count towards this. If you join a specialist unit - it could be as little as 19 days a year.


Pay and benefits

As a Reservist, you'll be paid a daily rate. You can also earn an annual 'bounty' which is a tax free sum, and there are financial packages available to some people looking to join the Army Reserve. It's not just about money, though, you'll get opportunities to travel and experience things, that as a civilian, simply aren't available. Plus, you'll earn qualifications and promotions as you develop.