Army recruitment at 16 'should stop'

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by AlMiles, Apr 24, 2013.

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    'MoD wastes £94m a year recruiting under-18s'
    23 April 2013

    The Ministry of Defence has been urged to stop recruiting teenagers as young as 16 into the British Army, with claims that it is wasting millions of pounds and engaging in an unethical practice.

    A new report launched by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch, said it cost the taxpayer twice as much to train a 16-year-old recruit as it did to train someone who was 18. Longer training was required for minors and there was a higher drop out rate.

    The findings, said to be drawn from MoD figures, meant that £94m was being wasted every year, the report claimed.

    Richard Clarke, director of Child Soldiers International asked: "Why is the MoD wasting tens of millions of pounds every year on inefficient and ethically questionable recruitment policies when experienced soldiers are being made redundant due to budget cuts?"

    David Gee of ForcesWatch added: "Recruiting minors into the army is a practice from a bygone era. It's not just young recruits who pay the price for outdated MoD policies – taxpayers do too. And so does the army, when it finds itself undermanned on the frontline because so many minors have dropped out of training."

    But according to reports, the MoD said there were no plans to revisit the government's recruitment policy for under-18s, which was said to be fully compliant with United Nations conventions.

    "As part of our duty of care to our recruits, no young person under the age of 18 years may join our armed forces without the formal written consent of their parent or guardian," a spokesman said.
  2. BBC News - Army recruitment at 16 'should stop'

    The "outdated" practice of recruiting 16-year-olds into the Army is wasting up to £94m a year and should stop, two human rights groups have said.

    Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch claim it costs the Ministry of Defence (MoD) twice as much to train a 16-year-old as it does an adult.

    That is due to longer training and a higher drop-out rate, they say.

    The MoD said it did not recognise figures in the report and it "ignores the benefits" for young people.

    Using figures presented to Parliament in 2011, the report said it cost an "estimated" £88,985 to recruit, train and pay new soldiers aged 16 and 17, compared with £42,818 for each adult recruit.

    It said initial training for under-18s lasted either 23 or 50 weeks, depending on their chosen trade and where they were trained, whereas adult training takes 14 weeks.

    The calculations included £10,000 to recruit each person, irrespective of age. The other costs covered training, accommodation, meals, welfare, health, salary and other support per Army recruit in 2010-11.

    Army personnel can be deployed once they turn 18 - which the two groups said meant that "at any one time, approximately 150 soldiers are fully trained but too young to be deployed."

    They added that it costs approximately £2.65m to pay the salaries of these un-soldiers, which it said were each paid a salary of £17,690.

    The report said the drop-out rate for minors was 36.6% compared with 28.3% for adults, the report said.

    But it added that under-18s who completed their training were likely to serve for an average of 10 years, compared with seven-and-a-half years for adult recruits.

    The report suggested taxpayers would save between £81.5m and £94m if all recruits were aged 18 and over.

    Its authors also say the UK is becoming "increasingly isolated" internationally in continuing with the practice - no other country in Europe recruits from such a young age - and are calling on the MoD to raise the Army recruitment age to 18.

    David Gee, of ForcesWatch, said recruiting under-18s into the Army was "a practice from a bygone era".

    "It's not just young recruits who pay the price for outdated MoD policies - taxpayers do too," he said.

    "And so does the Army when it finds itself undermanned on the front line because so many minors have dropped out of training."


    An MoD spokesman said it continued "to actively recruit across all age groups".

    "As part of our duty of care to our recruits, no young person under the age of 18 years may join our armed forces without the formal written consent of their parent or guardian," he added.

    "There are currently no plans to revisit the government's recruitment policy for under-18s, which is fully compliant with United Nations conventions."

    One former serviceman said that joining the armed forces as a teenager was "a good thing for young people".

    Jason Hardick, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, told the BBC: "It gives you self-confidence, self-discipline and a certain self-determination. You never want to fail, you always want to move forward."

    He joined two weeks after his 16th birthday, and stayed for 10 years, only leaving to get married.

    "I had a brilliant time, it's a good thing for young people to do and I was the youngest of my intake."
  3. Who gave these educated civvy idiots the right to interfere in something they know absolutely sod all about? They are full of self-importance and shit. Contribute nothing to this country and have set themselves up in a job just to criticise and publicise their self importance! I never got the privilege of being selected for JLR. however I did join the regulars at seventeen and a half on boy wages which was a pain, but I was rewarded with promotion on my eighteenth birthday which made up for it. Had I been selected for JLR maybe my life would have been much different. But I have a deep respect for those that did get selected, most of those that I knew became really good SNCO's who were good at their jobs and had time for those under them.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. I Joined the Marines at 16.

    Didn't cost **** all different to train me, we all had to do the same 30 week recruit training syllabus just the same as someone who joined at 26 years old.

    And the ******* paid me less.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. CplFoodspoiler

    CplFoodspoiler War Hero Book Reviewer

    Child Soldiers International?

    That is because we in the UK discriminate against our 16 year olds. They are not issued with machettes, AK47's or liberal amounts of drugs. We deny them the right to callously dismember, chop, shred and dice (that's the JTR ACC coming out in me) members of their community or anyone else that pisses them off. FFS they are not even allowed into areas of conflict until they reach the age of majority. Give our child soldiers equality. Let loose the kids of war!
    • Like Like x 2
  6. I seem to recall that you can join adult service at 17 and a half, and that allowed time to get basic out of the way, and no one fresh from the factory would get deployed anyway, certainly not without at least a couple of months of pre-deplyment ramping up.
  7. I did JLRRE, 1981 to 1982. At the time it was bleeding hard work, but we were joining the army not the WI.
    Looking back at it, it was good fun and made friends that I'm still in touch with today.
    It has to be hard, the army has to weed out the non hackers.
    As for boy soldiers being more prone to drink, drug problems, bollocks, I say. The military is just concentrated civvy street.


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  8. Reading the linked report the key phrase that strikes me is the following:

    "It cost an estimated minimum of £88,985 to recruit and train each new soldier aged 16-17½, compared with £42,818 for each adult recruit (includes salary costs)." (I am assuming this is an aggregated costing taking into account the fact that the report claims a "their higher drop-out rate"

    So from a cost effectiveness perspective (assuming the reported facts are correct) then it would seem a sensible proposal

    I dont think the ethical considerations hold any water, as already stated no-one under 18 goes on Ops anyway

    So we have a 2 year period (from Start of Phase 1 to Operational Effectiveness) for a 16 year old against 1 year for an adult entry.........

    Hard to argue against really
  9. If 16-year-olds are not capable of properly making a decision to join the Armed Forces, then neither are they capable of deciding the subjects that they take in school which tend to direct their route through life. Neither are they capable of deciding which college course to take.

    They must be deemed incapable of any decision-making until the day they turn 18, when they'll suddenly become capable of anything.

    Unfortunately, as they'll have no experience of decision-making up until then, many of their 18-year-old decisions will be wrong and the age of majority will need to rise again.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Under 18's haven't been able to deploy on Ops since the killing of the Scottish brothers at 17 in the honey trap incident, early mid 70's. I joined at 17 & was dicked at end of basic for depot mong stuff until i went over the water day after my 18th to join rest of the lads. Shit time.
  11. Won't this be a moot point anyway as kids will have to stay in education until they are 18?
  12. Nope, they only have to stay in education if they dont have a job or a training scheme to go to......
  13. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    The counter-argument is that they tend to promote more quickly and serve longer, so you need to do whole of service costings. You also, from a societal point, have to investigate the costings of what the youngsters will do, if they're not in the Army.

    Harrogate keeps about 1400 youngsters a year off the NEET statistics.