New targets for Army as staff numbers fall short

The Army has revamped its recruitment advertising in an effort to meet

Commander of the recruiting unit, Brigadier Simon Young, said the Army needs
15,000 new recruits each year but for the past two years has only managed
13,500. "We are trying to recruit a huge volume of people. Very few
organisations require the numbers we do," he said.

Brigadier Young said it was decided to separate jobs into nine categories
and market them as groups, because it is proving difficult to market the 143
trades and 1,400 career paths on offer.

Four different TV advertisements will be screened on both terrestrial and
Sky television, and recruiting videos and DVDs will be sent to people who
express an interest.

"We need to talk to young people in a language they understand. We
believe this far more effective. Young people today are more sophisticated,
more discerning. They ask ‘What’s in it for me?’."

Brigadier Young said the adverts needed to show that there is more to the
Army than being a soldier.

"We need to show the Army can give transferable skills and personable

He said recruiting is more difficult now due to low unemployment and more
young people going into higher education.

The Army needs 106,000 people. Currently it has 100,000 staff, but Brigadier
Young believes it can be at full strength by 2005.

Retention is difficult as people are lured away by higher paying jobs in the
private sector, but as living conditions improve, retention gets easier, he

The Army has been meeting its ethnic minority recruits targets – 5 per cent
a year – but, he said more work is needed to make it representative of society.

By Quentin Reade

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