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BBC Scotland's Hayley Millar reports
"The challenge is to get 2000 young Scots onboard in the next year"
 real 56k

The Today programme speaks to
Colonel Wayne Harber and Patrick Mileham
 real 28k

Monday, 12 March, 2001, 14:36 GMT
Army recruitment goes private
Soldiers drilling
The Army is trying a new weapon in recruitment
The private sector will be involved for the first time in recruiting for the Army.

Glasgow-based Search Consultancy, Scotland's biggest independent recruitment group with an annual turnover of 44m, will take over from the traditional recruiting sergeant.

The scheme is being launched in Scotland and will be extended to the rest of the UK if it proves successful.

The radical move has been forced on the Army by a recruiting crisis and the new move aims to attract 2,000 people into the ranks.

soldiers working
Army training provides skills, says army bosses

The army's frontline strength of 108,000 is 8,000 short of full strength.

According to military figures in Scotland, some 1,500 new soldiers are needed each year to maintain current staffing levels.

But officials have said that within the UK's personnel divisions there is a shortage, particularly in the infantry battalions.

Recruitment process

Search Consultancy will handle most stages of the recruitment process, including the initial selection of potential soldiers.

The final selection of recruits will remain in military hands.

The campaign will aim to convince would-be recruits that army training has great relevance to civilian careers.

The Army says it also wants to "reinforce its position as a modern career alternative to industry or higher education".

Soldier on duty
Soldier numbers in some areas are falling in Scotland

From April, Search will work with the army's own recruitment staff, offering specialist advice on the technical, manufacturing, construction and engineering sectors.

Armed Forces Minister John Spellar said: "This is a bold new initiative which shows the army has its finger on the pulse when it comes to modern recruiting methods.

"I am optimistic that the army's partnership with Search, a highly reputable recruitment organisation, will enhance army recruitment across the board."

A spokeswoman for the army in Scotland said: "This will be a joint effort. Search knows how to target audiences and its job is to get the right type of people up to the door. The selection process will be up to the army."

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