Army Reserve

Make an impact with a part-time role in the Army Reserve. You can make a difference to communities in need and boost your income with tax-free pay. It's an exciting new challenge with a flexible time commitment.

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Rewarding work that really makes an impact

Thousands of men and women enjoy part-time roles with the Army Reserve, operating alongside full-time personnel. They are ready to serve in a fully-trained military capacity if and when Australia needs them; and help rebuild the lives of entire communities in Australia and overseas when natural disasters strike.

People from all walks of life join the Reserves in order to:

  • Help defend Australia, its interests and its people
  • Do something different, exciting and worthwhile
  • Get highly-valued leadership and vocational training
  • Improve their employment skills and career prospects
  • Make new friends in a dynamic team environment
  • Help with local community projects and disaster relief
  • Enjoy opportunities for travel at home and overseas
  • Provide humanitarian assistance
  • Get access to sports and fitness facilities

Your primary responsibility as a Reservist is to support Army capability in your chosen job. You could be providing medical or legal services with a military angle; or working in a trade, technology or engineering job; or supplementing full-time resources in a combat role.

Members of the Army Reserve also gain great satisfaction from helping communities after floods, tsunamis and bushfires; and supporting humanitarian and peacekeeping missions overseas.

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Flexible ways to serve

Initial training length will vary based on your chosen role, after which you will normally be expected to serve between 35 and 70 days a year. This could be from as little as one night a week, one weekend a month, or a few weeks a year.

We do our best to make sure this fits in with your work and family commitments; and deployments are voluntary so if you choose to stay local, there are plenty of ways to make an impact closer to home. With no minimum period of service, you can leave the Army Reserve whenever you like.

Job satisfaction plus a range of benefits

Members of the Army Reserve gain great satisfaction from the rewarding work, travel, teamwork and camaraderie. But they enjoy many other benefits too. As a Reservist you'll enjoy:

Free food and accommodation when on exercises and deployments

Tax-free pay and allowances

Free employment training

Healthcare provided without charge on exercises and deployments

The opportunity to improve your fitness is another benefit of joining the Army Reserve. The fitness required to join is within most people's capability and the ADF Active app will help you achieve it, whatever your age.

Exciting new experiences at home and abroad

Where you go and what you do will depend on your role, your home location, and how much time and commitment you can offer the Army. Reservists who are available can spend periods interstate and overseas on exercises and deployments.



World-class training that benefits your future

In the Army Reserve you'll enjoy a blend of fitness, military and employment training that provides new skills and challenges beyond your day job. As a Soldier your work will be of a hands-on, practical nature and Army training will strengthen your communication and teamwork skills. As an Officer your role will be more leadership and management focused, which will have a positive effect on your civilian career.

Learn about officer training

General Service Officer training

If gaining leadership and management skills is a priority and you are interested in areas such as armoured, artillery, infantry, intelligence, engineering, signals or transport, you will complete a comprehensive training program teaching you the military and leadership skills to become a General Service Officer. Conducted at various locations, the course can be completed in modules over a three-year period, and comprises:

35-day Reserve Recruit Training Course at Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga, NSW. This is the training all Army recruits undertake.

16-day module conducted during April and September in Singleton, NSW by the Sydney University Regiment. Builds on the skills learnt in Recruit Training and introduces new operational, weapons and navigation topics.

16-day module also conducted during April and September in Singleton. Introduces command, leadership, management and military administration skills.

16-day module conducted during January and July in Singleton. Revises and tests what you will already have learnt about small team level operations; and builds your administrative abilities as the leader of a small team.

28-day module conducted during January and July at the Royal Military College Duntroon in Canberra. Teaches the leadership, management and operational skills needed to command a platoon, leading to the rank of Lieutenant in the Army Reserve.

Specialist Service Officer training

If you have already graduated in a profession such as healthcare, finance, law, chaplaincy, management, aviation, engineering or education you will probably become a Specialist Service Officer. In just one 26-day training module followed by one 16-day module you'll learn the military skills required to serve as an Officer in the Army Reserve.

Learn about soldier training

Soldier training

Your part-time Army career will start at Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga, NSW undertaking exactly the same training as our full-time soldiers. In 35 days you'll be challenged both mentally and physically, as you learn about:

  • Weapon handling and shooting,
  • Combat skills,
  • First aid,
  • Teamwork,
  • Time management
  • Army drill, and
  • Field craft.

Though the intense physical training can be demanding, many recruits find the sense of achievement on completing this course extremely rewarding.

On graduation from Recruit Training you'll undertake specialist employment training in your trade or category; which can take between two and seven weeks in one block or broken into modules. This can take place close to your area, though you may be required to travel interstate.

Significant benefits for your employer too

Your employer will benefit greatly from the management and vocational skills you are taught in the Reserve, and the character-building lifestyle you'll experience. They are legally obliged to release you for Army Reserve duty, but may apply for compensation (see below).

Your employer's business will be stronger with a Reservist in its ranks, and will have higher corporate status for supporting the ADF. The training you receive will help you:

  • Be positive and goal-oriented
  • Make quick, objective decisions
  • Manage time and resources efficiently
  • Be self-disciplined and self-reliant
  • Be a good team player
  • Become a better manager and leader

If eligible, your employer can receive compensation for your absence through the Defence Reserves Support Employer Support Payment Scheme. Employers are encouraged to find out more about the Army Reserve at discovery events (for details see the Defence Reserves Support website).

How to approach your employer

Over 900 supportive employers have Army Reservists on their payrolls and are aware of all the benefits as well as what it entails. But for those who are less familiar with the Army Reserve, it's important to communicate all the upsides, getting your employer as motivated as you are.

Start by being positive
Tell your employer you’re looking for a new challenge that will test and expand your skills for the benefit of the community and your country, as well as your everyday job. Let them know becoming an Army Reservist will satisfy this ambition; give them plenty of notice; and work with them to manage your Reservist commitments.

Talk about the training
Explain to your employer that the training you receive will help you be more effective at your job, by broadening your skill-set and strengthening your personal attributes.

As a Reservist you'll receive high quality government training in leadership and teamwork, plus personal and professional development that helps you become a more resilient and adaptable employee. Army training is designed to make you more positive and goal-oriented, and able to prioritise tasks and make quick, objective decisions.

Explain the personal development
Some of the enhanced skills and character traits you’ll bring to your full-time job as a result of your time with the Army Reserve will include leadership, management and teamwork skills; self-discipline and reliance, initiative, and punctuality. Again, these are attributes your employer should place great value on.

Be prepared to answer questions

  • If your employer is concerned about the commitment, reassure them that it may be as few as 20 days a year, including evenings and weekend training at your local Army Reserve unit. However you must be honest about the upfront training which will likely see you spending 35 days at Kapooka (near Wagga Wagga in NSW) during your first year of service.
  • Think in advance about how your work can be covered while you’re away, so your employer knows you care about things running smoothly in your absence.
  • If they want to know who covers your pay, tell them they may be eligible to receive compensation through the Employer Support Payment Scheme.
  • Remind your employer that people like doing business with companies that give something back. Your company’s commitment to the Army Reserve will help position them as an organisation of choice, for supporting both their employees and the national interest.

We've produced an Employer’s Information Leaflet you can download, print and give to your employer. It covers much of the information provided here.

Find out more about Defence Reserves

Meet the people who serve part-time, discover what's expected of Reserves, learn about the new skills you'll acquire and more.