RAF and Navy each take on just TEN 16-year old recruits in one year amid fears forces are failing to appeal to youngsters


Daily Mail

The number of under 18s joining the armed forces is falling, particularly in the RAF and Navy.

Only ten 16-year-olds signed up for the Royal Navy last year, Ministry of Defence figures reveal.

The RAF also saw only ten 16-year-olds enlist.

The number of teenagers joining the two services has plummeted amid fears the Armed Forces are failing to appeal to youngsters.

The Army, however, seemed to escape the recruitment problems, with 1,475 16-year-olds joining in 2011-12.

In total, only 1,495 16-year-olds signed up across the three services in 2011-12, compared with 4,430 in 2002-03.

    The fall was most dramatic for the Royal Navy, which saw 585 new recruits join in 2003-04.

    Some 265 teenagers joined the RAF in the same year.

    Sixteen is the youngest age at which recruits can join the Armed Forces.

    But the MoD figures reveal that, despite the recession and high unemployment, two-thirds fewer are signing up for the military than a decade ago.

    The figures were revealed by defence minister Mark Francois following a parliamentary question from Labour MP Alex Cunningham.

    MoD sources said the forces had hit their manning targets and recruitment was buoyant.

    Talking about recruitment across the three services, an Army source said: ‘There is no problem whatsoever with enlisting people.

    ‘We’ve got more people than we need asking to sign up. It may be that people are staying in school longer and not coming to the military until they’ve exhausted those opportunities.’

    But the dip in recruitment appears to be a further sign of disillusionment with the Armed Forces.

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