British Army targets working class kids


The Guardian and The Independent

From The Guardian

British army is targeting working-class young people, report shows

Recruitment campaign’s audience is 16- to 24-year-old C2DEs despite MoD’s claim of targeting all socio-economic backgrounds, internal document shows

The British army is specifically targeting young people from working-class backgrounds in a glossy recruitment campaign despite claiming to aim advertising at all socio-economic backgrounds, an internal briefing document seen by the Guardian reveals.

A briefing document on the This Is Belonging campaign spells out that the key audience is 16- to 24-year-old “C2DEs” – marketing speak for the lowest three social and economic groups.

The document also makes it clear that while the campaign is UK-wide, there are “up-weights” to cities in northern England including Manchester and Sheffield and to Birmingham, Belfast and Cardiff.

Army chiefs insist they do not specifically target poorer people from deprived areas, but seek out talented and motivated youngsters of all social classes from across the country. However, the charity Child Soldiers International, which obtained the briefing document, said the strategy set out in them clearly showed this was not true.

Rachel Taylor, the charity’s director of programmes, said: “What’s very clear from the document is that the army is deliberately and strategically targeting young people from deprived backgrounds who have limited options in life.

“It’s not about presenting the military as one of many options. It’s about exploiting people who don’t have a lot else going for them and taking advantage of that lack of opportunity to fill the ranks usually for the most dangerous and badly paid roles.”

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From The Independent

British Army targets recruitment of young working class, military document reveals

Campaign focuses on families earning an average of £10,000

Young people from working-class backgrounds are being specifically targeted by the British Army‘s latest recruitment drive, an internal document has revealed.

A briefing paper for the ‘This is Belonging’ campaign showed the armed forces focused on filling their ranks with young people from families with a mean income of £10,000.

Army bosses have long denied engineering their campaigns towards people from poorer backgrounds, insisting they draw on a varied talent pool.


The British Army has long been criticised for recruiting under 18s into its ranks. People who are enlisted as minors – at the ages of 16 or 17 – are more likely to join the frontline and be at greater risk of death when they turn 18 than those who join as adults, one report by Child Soldiers International recently found.

Emma Sangster, coordinator of Forces Watch, which monitors the Army’s recruitment practises, called for the enlistment age to be raised to 18. She said: “The armed forces present themselves as a vehicle for social mobility for those with few alternative opportunities, but the truth is that many people who have already faced disadvantage, or who are young and vulnerable, do not fare well in the Army for a variety of reasons.”

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Also, see our recent briefing on Does the military give young people a ‘leg up’? The armed forces and social mobility



See more: recruitment, recruitment age, risks, Child Soldiers International, ForcesWatch, advertising