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UK Armed Forces target gamers in £2m recruitment crisis | UK | News UK News

Britain’s Armed Forces are spending almost £2million on a recruitment drive targeting video game addicts, in a battle to reverse a manpower crisis.

It is one of a number of measures designed to increase the numbers serving in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

It also includes encouraging people with disabilities to sign up, finding roles for people over 50 – and scrapping rules forcing squaddies to shave off their beards.

Publicity aimed at “gamers” has included sending soldiers to compete in “esport” tournaments, where contestants play video games for prizes.

This included an event called Insomnia, at Birmingham’s NEC, attended by 100,000 people, where soldiers competed in games such as Halo and Counter Strike.

Advertising has also appeared on Twitch, an online service with live coverage of people playing video games.

The RAF is spending £19.7million on recruitment publicity over three years, with £1.2million targeting people who play video games online.

Meanwhile, the Army is forking out £21.3million, including £600,000 targeting gamers.

Ministry of Defence figures, published in response to questions from Labour, show there are 184,860 Armed Forces personnel, down by 7,440 or 3.9 per cent over the past year.

There were 10,470 new recruits over the 12 months to September – a fall of 1,520 people, or 12.6 per cent, compared to the year previously.

Defence Minister Andrew Murrison has suggested allowing Armed Forces personnel to serve for longer, ending the effective retirement age of 55.

Writing in today’s Sunday Express, he says: “Why should people in wheelchairs not serve in uniform if their role permits it, particularly in tech-related jobs … and why do we insist on medical standards that seem ill-fitted to accommodate the new and novel roles of the future?”

And he calls for an end to “trivial impediments” such as the demand that soldiers shave off their beards.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-30 20:00:00

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