• Question: I'm 14 and I'm about to go into year 10. I've chosen triple science as because I enjoy all three of them and I quite smart at all three of them. my question is,, when I'm older I wanna be an engineer in the army but I don't know what qualifications I'm going to need or what specific sciences I'm going to need to specialise in. thank you in advance if you answer.

    Asked by dillonjones14560 on 7 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      Wow – congratulations on knowing what you want to do and really glad you are enjoying science at school! I am not the best person to advise on a career in engineering, but having a quick look on the UCAS site, there is information here on the subjects needed at A-level – and it depends on what type of engineer you would like to be: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/subject-guide-list/engineering-and-technology
      It looks like Maths and Physics are pretty important subjects to take from this info. Also worth looking at the courses you are interested in at each specific university and looking at their entry requirements. I hope that helps!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      WHOA. Amazing that at the age of 14 you know what you want to do! I still don’t know what I want to do with my life…! I’d say that choosing triple science is already a great idea. I’d also suggest getting some good qualifications in mathematics because most of my engineer friends did more complicated maths than I did at University (and I did mathematics at University!). As some career advisors to see what you will need but I’d say just enjoy it whilst you can! Take the classes that you enjoy and hope that they get you somewhere you want to be.

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      Sounds like a good choice, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy doing triple science if it’s something you enjoy.

      If you are keen to go into the army then I’d recommend contacting the army careers advice centres https://apply.army.mod.uk/army-career-centre-finder as they can give you much more detailed information on career options within the army and also might have some information on army scholarships for university. Good luck.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      Like the others I’m super impressed that you know what you want to do at 14, I definitely hadn’t made my mind up at that point!
      I think that the most important thing is probably to talk to the army recruitment office (you can find your local office here: https://apply.army.mod.uk/army-career-centre-finder). They offer lots of different engineer jobs, and they all have slightly different requirements for qualifications. You can look at the differen jobs here: https://apply.army.mod.uk/roles
      Your safe bet for GCSE subjects are probably maths, physics and English. It’s also really useful to be able to speak another language, so you could look into that too.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      Not my area of expertise but I think you’ve made a good start by studying triple science. I think your best bet would be to get an undergraduate degree in engineering and join the Officer Training Corp (OTC) whilst at uni. You can also find some helpful info at these sites:

      https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/corps-regiments-and-units/university-officers-training-corps/
      https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/our-schools-and-colleges/engineering/
      https://apply.army.mod.uk/roles/royal-engineers

      I had friends in the OTC whilst at uni and they loved it – learnt some amazing skills, did a lot of volunteering, and had a lot of fun. Very best of luck with your applications!

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 8 Jun 2019:


      Great to hear you have a plan for the future. I studied engineering at university and loved it, but there are a few routes to becoming an engineer in the army. Either you can go in before you do a degree, train a bit on the job and then maybe do a degree or you can go straight in after your degree without any prior links. On my course there were people who were going through both routes.

      Something worth thinking about is what university to go too. Some have special units where you can learn all about the army and do some training whilst at university. Where I was in Southampton there was a royal naval unit which some of my housemates were members – they had regular meetings and really enjoyed learning all about being in the navy.

      For engineering, maths and physics are probably the most important subjects to focus on at a-level. Universities like to see a balance of other subjects for the third – if you have a specific university in mind I’d look and see what they suggest. To get into university you’ll need to study a-levels but lots of people go down the apprenticeship route too.

      During my gap year I worked for a military company and got to meet a lot of engineers in the army! They really loved their job and its such a worthwhile career. If you have any more questions feel free to send another ask!

    • Photo: Shonna Johnston

      Shonna Johnston answered on 8 Jun 2019:


      Good for you! You should always choose to go with subjects you enjoy. I was advised against choosing all 3 sciences at school then ended up cramming physics in to my last years.
      As the other have said, make sure you check out what you need to aim towards the career you want. There is so much information online to help with this.

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 8 Jun 2019:


      There are many routes into becoming an engineer in the armed forces, even later if life if this is something you don’t want to pursue right away.
      In your position right now I would go through school getting the best grades you can possibly get in maths and science or design and technology type of subjects. Aside from this I would also look into completing the Duke of Edinburgh awards, which will stand you in good stead from living away from home (and teach you general life skills). If you live in the south west, 10 tors is also a good event to get involved with – or failing that join the scouts.
      Your local armed forces recruitment office will be best placed to guide you into a suitable role no matter what service you would want to join. Do bear in mind there are other (non army) options for you; such as those within the civil service: DES (Defence equipment & Support) and DSTL (Defence Science Technical Laboratory) amongst others.
      DE&S are mainly based in Bristol and procure all the military equipment from basics such as shoelaces to complex systems such as Challenger 2 army tanks and the new F35B fighter jet! DSTL focus on all the research and development activities throughout the armed forces and most of government and can offer an exciting career for those who are interested in cutting edge technology.
      Take a look out for the ‘STEM Graduate Inflow Scheme’ which is something that will be taking over from the Welbeck Defence Academy.

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 9 Jun 2019:


      I think the others have given some sound advice to you on this one, I just wanted to say- really well done for having such dedication and enthusiasm. I wish you the very best of luck in achieving your dreams!

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      That’s great to have a career plan and goal in mind, and also engineering is most definitely an interesting field!

      I think for the first and foremost, you’ll want physics, in terms of science, and then also some form of mechanical engineering (if not on offer through school, you could try and get some work experience at a local garage to bolster your knowledge in this area). physics wise you’ll definitely benefit from look at hydraulics and forces in particular.

      Chemistry would then be the next important, as you’ll need to know how things interact and behave (for instance when different substances are heated/cooled and chemical properties). Finally Biology is also important, but specifically I would say physics and chemistry.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      Plenty of great advice here for you. I also did triple science when I was your age. Keep doing what you enjoy you don’t need to decide on a career just yet, you’ll come across lots of opportunities in the future. Something else might capture your imagination so keep an open mind!

    • Photo: Aina Roca Barcelo

      Aina Roca Barcelo answered on 10 Jun 2019: last edited 10 Jun 2019 12:07 pm


      Hi! So this is a really common situation we all find ourselves in, we have a dream but… how do we get there? Well here are my 3 recommendations I would give you:

      1) Decide what you want. It seems that you have a really concrete idea of what you want to do in the future, which is awesome. However, I would suggest you keep an open mind and explroe a bit more all that it is out there. Sometimes we get so obsessed with an idea that we forget to explore other options. Also, we tend to idealized jobs and careers because of what we have seen in movies, read in books or heard from other people. I would suggest that whatever it is you want to do, try to contact someone that is doing it right now and ask them questions like: “what is a normal day like?”, “what has been your best and worst experience?”, “how does your job impact your personal life?”…

      2) Once you know which career/job you want it is time to do some research. Investigate what it is necessary to get there. That may be available online or you can ask people that is in that position at the moment what did they do to get there.

      3) Your aspirations and dreams will probably change over time. When I started studying I wanted to be a medical doctor and now I am an epidemiologist so you never know. So keep your eyes wide open for any opportunity, don’t limit yourself to one thing.

      AND REMEMBER, whatever you do at the end if you work hard and put passion, you will make it eventually!

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