Army seeks younger and older recruits in bid to boost numbers

Army personnel chiefs are looking for both younger and older recruits as they face up to a staffing crisis.

To capture older recruits, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has raised the maximum age for people to join the Army from 26 to 33.

At the other end of the scale, senior officials are touring schools looking to sign up 17-year-olds to fly Apache helicopters.

This is a bid to catch potential pilots before they go to university, and to give them plenty of time to learn how to operate the complicated machines.

“The new generation of computer-game playing youngsters glued to their PlayStations, Xboxes and Game Boys already have the skills needed,” a senior Army source told the Sunday Mirror.

The Army will pay for young recruits to go to university at a later stage.

The MoD is reportedly set to spend more money improving retention after more than 14,000 soldiers left the Army in 2006. Fighting more wars has left the Armed Forces extremely stretched in recent years.

But an MoD spokeswoman insisted that increasing the maximum age for people to join was merely bringing the Army in line with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.



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