What are the reserve forces?
The reserve forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces and play a vital role in protecting the UK at home and overseas, particularly by providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber.
The reserve forces consist of the Maritime Reserve, made up of the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Marines Reserve; the Army Reserve (formally known as the Territorial Army) and the Royal Air Force Reserves.
Who are reserves (also known as reservists)?
Reserves are ordinary men and women who give up their spare time to serve part-time in the reserve forces.
They balance their civilian life with a military career to ensure that they are ready to serve alongside regular forces if their country needs them to.
If mobilised, reserves carry out the same roles to the same high standard as their regular counterparts. They also receive the same world-class training and develop the same skills.
How much time does it take up?
Because reserves train in their spare time, the number of days they dedicate to their military service is flexible. Depending on the unit you join, the Army sets a minimum training commitment that could be 19 or 27 days a year.
As part of their training, reserves usually attend their unit one or two evenings a week. They also take part in regular training weekends at a dedicated centre and attend a two-week Annual Camp which runs either within the UK or abroad.
Do reserves get paid?
Yes, they get paid at the same rates as regular personnel, and if they complete a specified amount of training per year they then become eligible for a tax-free annual bounty payment.
What are the benefits of joining up?
People join for a variety of different reasons. But here are some of the main ones:
- Service – Chance to serve your country and community
- Self-development – Gaining confidence and leadership experience.
- Travel – Opportunity to train in places like Kenya or California
- Skills – Earn military and civilian qualifications
- Pay – Get paid for all of the training and Reserve duties you complete
- Benefits – Joiners financial incentives and the opportunity to earn a tax free bonus every year
- Fitness – Be trained by the best and reach military fitness standards.
Who is eligible?
Each of the forces has its own entry requirements and different roles that people can apply for.
To explore all the opportunities for reserves:
- Royal Naval Reserve
- Royal Marines Reserve
- Army Reserve (formerly known as the Territorial Army)
- Royal Air Force Reserves
Alternatively, you can look for a unit near you by going to Find a Unit.