General Duties Marine

Eligibility and qualifications

What are we looking for

People with who push through when things get tough. Who never lose sight of the mission – no matter what they’re faced with. People who thrive on adrenaline and know the value of teamwork.

And the following qualifications

No specific qualifications are needed for this job but you must be aged between 16 and 32 years.

Skills and interests

You should like:

  • A Sense of Adventure
  • Working in Challenging Environments
  • Working as Part of a Team
  • Outdoor Activities

You should have these skills:

  • Good Physical and Mental Stamina
  • Reliable
  • Honesty and Integrity 

Career Progression

Skills for life

We give you all the specialist skills you’ll need to excel at your job. But you can also build on this knowledge throughout your career. And because you will have the chance to gain qualifications that are recognised and valued by both the Royal Navy and civilian employers – like NVQs, GCSEs, BTWC awards or even university degrees – you will develop an enviable set of transferrable skills.

Development as a Royal Marines Commando
All Royal Marine Commandos go through a key-skills programme, which will earn you a Public Services Apprenticeship. When you’re chosen for a command course, you can find all the reference material you need in our library.


During your training you will be known as a Royal Marines Recruit. When you complete it you’ll become a General Duties Marine and go on to serve with a commando unit. During this time you will be deployed in operations around the world.

After two years as General Duties Marine developing a range of commando skills, you will then train in one of the specialist jobs. These include Metalsmith, Assault, Engineer or Mountain Leader. Display your leadership potential and you’ll start moving up the ranks. And when you show the right commitment, skills and academic ability you could also have the chance to become a Commissioned Officer at any point in your career.

Pay and benefits

Joining the Royal Marines means more than just travel being part of one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. It also gives you job security that is hard to come by in civilian life.

You’ll also benefit from free medical care, help with housing and discounts on living costs. And if you’re interested in getting qualifications, we can fund you through your studies.

Initially we will offer you a career for 12 years. For commandos, when you are first promoted your offer will be extended to 20 years or until age 40, whichever is later. For officers, you will automatically receive this same extension when you achieve a key point in your career path or by selection on merit. Everyone may have the opportunity to serve beyond this, depending what you would like to do and the needs of the Royal Marines.

If you would like to leave the Royal Marines you can send us your request one year before completing your return of service. A return of service is the length of time you must stay in the Royal Marines after you reach a certain stage in your training. Ultimately it will depend on the branch you join but the return of service is usually around 4 years.

Learn more about pay and benefits

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