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What are the benefits of military service?

As the school term comes to a close for secondary schools in Sharjah, senior students have time to reflect on their future career options after graduation.

As they plan their university education, choosing a field of study and the school they wish to attend, an important factor to keep in mind is their obligation to enlist for military service once they graduate from secondary school.

In July this year, the mandatory period of military service for Emirati men aged between 18 and 30 and graduates of secondary school has been extended from 12 months to 16 months. As before, Emirati women may also volunteer for military service. The service can be completed with the UAE Armed Forces, Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior or State Security.

It's worth noting that Emirati men and women may complete their university education before beginning military service, but finishing their military service prior to university offers distinct advantages. The military teaches its young recruits many key skills that will prove useful during students' university years and later professional life. 

According to social development experts, positive qualities instilled during military service include the ability to stick to a routine, time management, organizational skills, humility, a sense of equality and oneness with peers, and a deeper appreciation for hard work. 

In their professional life, students will find that careers are built by discipline and focus, which enables one to deliver work to a higher standard, take on leadership positions, and gradually move up the organizational hierarchy.  High-paying jobs and prestigious titles are earned through hard work, so an early lesson about its value will surely benefit students. 

Army conscripts also leave the service with a healthier lifestyle. A nutritious diet and regular exercise routine is part and parcel of army life. With obesity and diabetes becoming common health problems in the UAE, a commitment to fitness in early adulthood will protect the health of our future generations. 

Additionally, experts have found that young people show more respect for the law and less aggression after completing their military service. Since military service was introduced in 2014, there has been a staggering 75% drop in in the youth crime rate, particularly in the cases of fights or assaults leading to death or disability. 

Once their military service is complete, conscripts enjoy certain financial benefits, too. These include priority in job placements and promotions as well as marriage and land loans, while Armed Forces also extends financial support to those going on to university studies.

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