MoD 'wastes cash training under-18s'
Rob Hastings is Deputy News Editor at The Independent. He has served on the news desk since 2010, and also writes travel articles, music reviews and features. In 2015 he shortlisted for the Washington Post’s Laurence Stern Fellowship for a series on reportage features from Iran.
Tuesday 23 April 2013
The Ministry of Defence wastes up to £94m a year training 16 and 17-year-old army recruits for roles which could be filled more cost-effectively by adults, according to analysis by campaign groups.
The report, by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch, found it costs the MoD twice as much to train a 16-year-old as an 18-year-old. The organisations added that the UK was becoming “increasingly isolated” internationally in continuing to recruit people below the age of 18.
The report found it cost an estimated minimum of £88,985 to train each new soldier aged 16 to 17-and-a-half, compared with £42,818 for each adult. Initial training for minors lasted up to 50 weeks, but enlisting adults could complete the phase one course in 14 weeks. The drop-out rate for minors was 36.6 per cent, compared with 28.3 per cent for adults.
Tory MP and former army officer Patrick Mercer said: “Social conditions, financial conditions and recruiting have all changed and if it now seems that junior entry soldiers are less than cost-effective, the whole issue needs to be looked at.”
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