Personnel from Episkopi Garrison in Cyprus lowering the Union Jack on the Episkopi cliffs as part of Remembrance Day events

Belonging – The New British Army Recruitment Campaign

The new British Army recruitment campaign “This is Belonging” focuses on the “unique and lasting bonds of friendship” that come from joining up. The £3 million advertising campaign hit British televisions Saturday, 7 January, in an attempt to bolster flagging recruitment numbers.

Maj. Gen. Tim Hyams, GOC Recruiting and Training, was quoted in the Telegraph as saying:

Life in the British Army develops unique and lasting bonds of friendship. This sense of belonging is central to the opportunity we offer to those who wish to pursue a career in an organisation that makes a positive contribution to society.

Latest MOD figures show that the number of regular soldiers in the British Army rests at under 79,000 – 3,000 short of the 82,000 target set under Army 2020. The BBC reported that since 2010, the number of soldiers leaving the Army is greater than the number joining, suggesting that the shortfall is likely to become worse.

Criticism has been directed at current recruitment which is outsourced to Capita. Delivering between 10 and 15 per cent fewer new recruits than required, Capita has been accused of overly relying on impersonal call centres and online forms, instead of face-to-face methods. The online forms have been shortened, but are still too long and require more detail than is necessary.

The Telegraph quoted an unnamed source as saying “The current system is just not fit for purpose”. One regiment was even using its own funds to boost recruitment.

Campaigners have also targeted the British Army’s recruitment of under-18s with a series of short films and a letter has been sent to the Secretary of State, demanding the end of the practice.

Other than Capita’s under-performance, low unemployment and a lack of operations are seen as fundamental to the recruitment problem. However, the new campaign also focuses on the Army’s humanitarian role. Research conducted for the campaign showed that 55 per cent of the target audience of 18 to 35-year-olds want to do more to help others and improve their communities. This is a non-traditional area for the Army to focus on and we have yet to see if it will deliver the results needed.

“This is Belonging” also has a webpage.

Photo: Personnel from Episkopi Garrison in Cyprus lowering the Union Jack on the Episkopi cliffs as part of Remembrance Day events, by SAC Helen Rimmer, RAF (Crown Copyright)

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