I think that if recruitment is a problem it's mostly a public relations and marketing problem...hindered by the medias negative representation of the Modern British Army.
The army is not visible to the vast majority of the public. Kids no longer see being a soldier in the British Army as something to aspire to.
What was the last British television programme aimed at younger people that showed the British Army?

On another thread the value of Army display teams such as the White Helmets to recruitment is disputed internally, also the value of public displays and shows (largely I suspect because of ever increasing budgetory constraints.)
I firmly believe Army days and outreaches are crucial to recruitment and good public relations. It mustn't be seen as the first thing to cut when the budget won't stretch..or else whole yeargroups of likely recruits will be lost.

Certainly increasing the use of innovative publicity and marketing techniques will be needed..recruitment offices getting teens through their doors for various events and linking to colleges and schools.
Pro active and imaginative targetting is the only way forward...forgive me if Recruiting offices already do this..I, and my kids, have simply not seen it.

There is a TA unit in my town..most people will not be aware of its exisitance..there is little publicity or interaction....actually none that I know of.
There is an Army cadet unit too here, but at no time has anyone visited my kids schools to speak about it..there is no publicity etc. that I am aware of...I know it exists because I saw them at last years Remembrance parade (they couldn't march for toffee and were a bunch of scruffy herberts actually).

I think the current Television campaign misses, because it makes the Army appear too 'other' but not in a positive way that youngsters would want.
The television advertisments are too short and unrelated to youths lives and needs in my view.
I think instead of always showing individual people working alone in pressured moments in these Ads, they should display the camaraderie...the laughs ..the group and teamwork...images of learning and succeeding and being proud to belong.

Just a few thoughts
well i think it wouldnt matter if it was given more publicity, there would still be a lowish recruitment rate because it takes a different kind of person to go into a recruitment office and apply, and giving it more publicity is unlikely to attract the people the army want.


The Army is just a potential employer having to compete with many other employers.
If the army is not marketed and promoted properly or is shown in a distorted manner so that this potential career choice is not well understood and considered, it will inevitably and unfortunately be dismissed by many of those who would potentially be ideal recruits.

Mr Happy

How about.....

1 Increasing discipline in schools so the army isn't such a big shock and then the recruits that have actually walked in the door aren't shocked and run away.

2 Getting more people through the doors by doing exactly what BB said. :lol:


What a clever man you are Mr Happy :D ..good advice..You are right of course..Being a woman I'd never have thought of anything as clever as you would :p
Since leaving the army several years ago I have been working in the education sector and to be quite frank am shocked at the image the army has when it comes to being a decent career choice.
Since the abolition of the Junior Leaders regiments there is little or no chance of joining the army at age 16 in the field you wish to specialise in. This combined with almost zero PR exposure to the general public and the media's continued and widely broadcast myth that all 'squaddies' are subhuman in intelligence and only want to drag their knuckles behind them looking for a fight\pint.
Many teenagers look at the forces as a last chance option to get employment as most are put off with the disipline, poor wages (compared with civilian wages) and prospects (let's face it, promotion isn't what it used to be and when the news shows L\Cpls, Cpls in their mid 30's then the message about career prospects within the army is shoved straight into the living room). Many I talk to who want to join the army come out with nonsensicle ideas about what being a soldier is about such as 'I'm joining because I get a gun' -This is one I heard last week- and 'I'm want to join because I don't want to get pregnant' , this was from a 17 year old girl who lived on a council estate and wanted out.
In short the MOD should get it's PR and media in order instead of showing really crap adverts on tv.
A few things worth considering:

There has been for the last three years a demographic trough in this country...caused by the lack of children spawned in the early eighties...or put another way...the number of teenagers in the country at the moment is running at the lowest point ever.

This has led to increased competition from employers and further education centres alike.

Also, the spirit of Nationality and pride has been eroded over the passage of time in order for our country to be a much more Multi cultural one...which has in turn meant that for the first time in this countries history that whilst it was at war (Op Telic) there were less entrants through the door than normal. We are no longer the fiercely proud nation that we used to be.

Add to all this todays Norm for going into further eductaion by kids just to conform as well as the drug habits of a large percentage of the younger population and you can see why the Armed Forces are concerned.

Of course these are only my personal sentiments, but I do have a few friends that are in the recruiting world.

I dont mean to tread on your fire, or perhaps add fuel to it but:

Junior Leaders are back, just not in the same name so as to avoid the criticism from others as to why the Army canned it in the first place.

We now have 2 Army foundation Colleges with one being for technical trades and the other for combat and support arms. Try looking at for further info

And as for the I want a gun etc.....thats always been a part of society, people will always mock the father refused to attend my pass out cos of his contempt at my choice to join......
I harldly think 1000 places is going to cope with the demand for selection which all school leavers would place on the system. This and the fact that by the time many are eligable to join they have little or no interest. They have either been pushed into college to do a nail\face painting course by their career 'advisors' (people who have never had a job apart from being a career advisor) or have got a girlfiend\wife and now cannot be bothered.
Oh, one other thing woth mentioning:

In the USA, the nation as a whole is still behind its service men and women. The Star Spangled Banner is displayed in most shops etc.

Theme parks, travel companies and even Nightclubs offer discounts, some extemely good to both serving and ex military alike (including the British Armed Forces).

Ive seen US serviceman greeted in the street, praised for the work they do and held in a much better regard than in UK.

Maybe the United States as a nation did learn something from Vietnam....a healthy respect for what its service people do...regardless of political thought.
True. I started to see how bad things were getting after drawdown in the early 90's. I was a Tank Transporter (NOT the truck, but you get the idea) and we would spend almost all of or time on tour working with other nations. In the first Gulf War there was such support for the troops it brought a tear to my eyes, with vid's of the lates TV shows provided for the guys, weights and gym equipment provided for units and lots of small, but nice comforts laid on.
In Bosnia\Kosovo we would see how well the Yanks, Dutch, Germans were looked after and it really does make us look like poor cousins with our kit a mix of purchased items and issued equipment, our lack of morale boosting facilities (unless you count having to drive 20 miles to use a sat phone after queing for an hour). Maybe things have changed in the 3 years I have been out, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
If I knew how easy and well paid being a civvy is I would have left years before I did.

Mr Happy

Muttley said:
Oh, one other thing woth mentioning:
Theme parks, travel companies and even Nightclubs offer discounts, some extemely good to both serving and ex military alike (including the British Armed Forces).
Quite right, was in Georgia recently and enjoyed the free drinks offered for veterans etc.

Amazing and I feel a bit bitter about it compared to the UK. Sadly the lap dancers weren't giving anything away but hey....

You get fck all in Dublin though.
One of the things which has been damaging is we no longer wear uniform in public. I dont mean nipping to the cashpoint in your lunch hour, i mean from the start of the Northern Ireland troubles, soldiers stopped wearing their uniform to travel home on leave etc.

The Army lost alot of exposure. Soldiers were visible to the public and alot of youngsters would have seen soldiers in uniform and it sparked interest in them. All you see in the press now are the bad things, massive spreads because an officer has boned her staffey and prescious little about the good soldiers do and about the lifestyle. The army isnt in the public eye for the right things anymore, its damaging and will only get worse. The tabloid press will claim to be the "Official Paper of the British Army" as soon as an Operation starts, and send out a couple of large breasted women to get their photo's taken with the boys, but they fail to understand the damage is done by their style of reporting when something does go wrong.

Dont know what the answer is. The Army isnt the same beast it was 15years ago, and todays Army just isnt attractive to the modern youth. :(
When I joined at 16 it was the norm for lads who wanted to join up to start their training within a couple of months of finishing school. I don't know what proportion of the total annual intake it was, but every Regt Corps and Inf Div had their own Junior Regt, Jounior Leaders Bn and/or Apprentice College.

With so few now able to join as juniors it gives the youth of today too much time to "um and aaah", puting it off until they can join and settle into a life of doing very little and going to the pub with their mates. That combined with the Armys PR problem and the lower standard of fitness of todays youth and there's no wonder there's a problem with getting them in through the gates.

End of rant :roll:
It would also help if the Recruitment Offices actually knew what they were talking about. Am fed up of hearing from people who have asked to do a trade in the RAMC/QA to be told by the local ACIO that it doesnt exist, (even when it does) and wouldn't they rather join the local Infantry regiment.................

This has happened to both potential soldiers and officers, some of whom have gone off to find a career elswhere. Fortunately I have had a chance to correct the info that a couple have been given and persuaded them to try again........although if I were them I wouldnt want to be part of an organisation that doesnt know its a***e from its elbow. :evil:
Funnily enough I've just been talking to an old mucker of mine who's now commisioned and still serving. I mentioned the recruiting issue and he tells me that since Telic recruiting has begun to rise again. It's always been said that a small war was the Army's best recruiting sergeant!
On the other hand, what do people think (honestly!) of the policy of recruiting in the Commonwealth, and I don't mean Australia, New Zealand and South Africa etc!!! I've heard very mixed reviews about the Fijians and was almost in despair when I found that my old regiment had gone to Jamaica to recruit, I couldn't f***ing believe it! We had numerous Jamaicans and West Indians in the Bn. when I joined in the early '70's, they were a disaster. They seemed to me to be cuturally unsuited to military life, resentful of discipline, unmotivated, lacking in team spirit and apparently completely uninterested in anything other than white women and kung -fu movies!! Only two of them got as far as Corporal ( in the Gym!!) and in the end they all (thankfully) left. Apparently this latest lot are even worse and there are serious discipline problems. Not agaon surely?
I read in one of the papers last week that the Navy is to allow or even encourage its people to wear uniform whle off base, with the Army and RAF to follow later. The rationale was as someone said above, to increase the profile of the services in the country and hopefully help recruitment.

While this may help to raise the profile of the forces I remember reading on this forum that soldiers often aren't issued with anything other than cammo clothing. I wonder if soldiers wandering around civilian areas in combat dress is going to have the desired effect. An old soldier friend told me that they used to be given "walking out dress" at one time but I doubt there is anything similar now.
Interestingly, the OTC here were recruiting at Fresher's Fair in boots, lightweights and training tops - C95 was considered too aggressive.



Bladensburg said:
I read in one of the papers last week that the Navy is to allow or even encourage its people to wear uniform whle off base, with the Army and RAF to follow later. The rationale was as someone said above, to increase the profile of the services in the country and hopefully help recruitment
Well this certainly would raise the profile ....if it's considered safe it would a great move. :D
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