(Originally posted in 2014) Recruit Andrew Vaughan is 25 years old and is about to start Phase 1 training at Army Training Regiment (ATR) Winchester, where he hopes to go on to join the Royal Artillery.
The decision to join
I’ve had a taste of Army life before because I previous applied to join the TA when I was 18. I completed the ADSC (Army Development and Selection Centre) after a year of waiting but unfortunately had to leave to go to University. It is something I regret now and I do wonder what would have happened had I stayed. As they say though, everything happens for a reason.
Fast forward seven years, a lot of life experience and a varied career including as an Accounts Assistant and a Recruitment Consultant. Good money, but not what I wanted to do. I wanted a job which was varied, where I get to make a difference and have adventures along the way.
Finally I made the decision. I was going to become a soldier.
I began my journey by going on to the Army website, you now begin your initial registration online by filling in their application form. It can take a while but it saves time down the road to be as detailed as possible. After a couple of weeks of waiting (and worrying) I received an email which asked for medical details. Again it helps to be as accurate as you can.
After another couple of weeks (and a courtesy call just to show enthusiasm) I received a phone call issuing me an appointment at my local AFCO (Armed Forces Careers Office) in London. This was to be an interview and the first real hurdle of the process that can be failed. I was incredibly nervous and spent the time I had to take in all the advice I could from a variety of sources on how to pass. The interview is for the Army to see what type of person you are, why you want to join the Army and what you can bring to the table. You will have already been asked what your top three job choices are, so revise what they involve including where you will based and how long for.
Also revise the Army Values (Courage, Discipline, Respect for others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment – CDRILS) and have an example ready on when you have displayed these values. Revise what ADSC and Phase 1 will involve but most importantly, be yourself. As long as you truly want it and are there for the right reasons, you won’t go far wrong.
I was told straight after the interview that I had passed and had to strongly fight the urge to do the happy dance there and then – probably for the best! I was then told of an upcoming running club in London, which is run by the Army so they can assess my 1.5 mile run time. They hold it once a month so I was very eager to bosh it first time – one week to prepare – game on!
The run clubs
I attended this with my Grandad who, bless his heart, is just as excited if not more so about my decision to join the Army. Having been in the Signals himself and knowing the highs and lows that await me, he is extremely encouraging about my job/life choice and his pride in me is definitely a huge driving force for me to succeed. I finished the run in 11:35, my personal record but not quite good enough. A month of training it is then!
One month and a lot of miles under my belt later and I was back, again with Grandad in tow, and again finished in the 11:30 minute region. I was devastated if I’m honest. No improvement showing, I felt like this was where my journey had reached its end. Thankfully I received a phone call from my CSM a week after inviting me to attend the ADSC in two month’s time!! I was so excited and told anyone who would listen the good news, this was where the ball really began to roll!
Visit Recruit Vaughan’s page
Find out about joining the Army
Find out about ATR Winchester