NOW PROMOTION - Captain Leah reveals she loves life in the British Army
Captain Leah, 28, has been in the British Army for five years. As a Regimental Administrative Officer in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment she leads a team of 17 soldiers who offer human resources support to 500 people.
Did you always want to join the British Army?
‘My first ambition in life was to be a ballerina, but I was also really into sport and being outdoors, so my Mum suggested a career in the Army. My local Army Careers Office gave me all the information I needed and it looked interesting – mentally and physically challenging, rewarding, with opportunities for travel, responsibility and the chance to really make a difference.’
So you joined the Army after leaving school?
‘No, the careers officer advised me to get a degree first. I studied English Literature at Aberystwyth Uni, joined the University Officer Training Corps and won a place at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, for the September after I graduated.’
Describe a typical working day.
‘It varies, but in the UK my typical work day starts with an hour’s physical training at 8am. Once I’m in the office, I’m busy with phone calls and emails, dealing with whatever comes up. I manage career progression for my soldiers and manage budgets too. I usually finish at five o’clock and head home to see my boyfriend.’
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
‘I served six months in Afghanistan co-ordinating medical assets, which was interesting and demanding.’
What does the Army offer that other careers don’t?
‘The Army’s training opportunities are brilliant and there’s no glass ceiling for women. Another perk is the 38 days annual holiday, which means keeping in touch with your family is easy. I’ve also just bought my first home. Rent in the Army is much cheaper than in the private sector and food is subsidised, so I’ve been able to save for a deposit.’
Do you get to travel a lot?
‘Yes, I moved abroad for a two-and-a-half-year posting in Germany. When I finished in Afghanistan, I spent three months Nordic skiing. When I think about all the amazing things I’ve packed into my five years with the Army, I can’t imagine doing anything else!’
To find out more about life in the Army or how to become a Reservist and get paid to train in your spare time, go to army.mod.uk/join/