Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Memorandum from the WRVS

  Please find our response below, however I must point out that WRVS does not hold statistics on recruitment and retention as this is retained by the Chain of Command.

  The comments below are based on conversations between WRVS Services Welfare Officers' and recruits/service personnel and are in no particular order.


  1.  Some young people are reluctant to sign up due to the amount of deployment they would have to undertake and the media attention highlighting injuries and loss of life.

  2.  There is a perceived loss of freedom, together with uncertainties over communal living, early mornings and missing family and home life.

  3.  Difficulties with the adjustment in culture/do not like Army life.

  4.  Issues with discipline—some young people have never experienced any discipline.

  5.  The Army enlist individuals on some occasions with a numeracy and literacy age of a seven year old. This is within the guidelines, however, when the recruit is in a classroom environment as part of their training, they then realise that they are unable to take notes etc which can lead to them becoming quite isolated from their peer group. Individuals can find this difficult to cope with. There is insufficient time for the permanent staff to give further education due to the rigorous training programme they have to deliver. In some cases therefore, the recruit falls behind and their motivation can be reduced.

  6.  Individuals not getting accepted onto their desired training course.

  7.  Reduction in adventure training.

  8.  If a soldier becomes injured, they sometimes have to wait months until they are fit to return to training, therefore morale becomes low and has an adverse effect on them and others.

  9.  Accommodation—within the UK especially. (Accommodation within Germany is considered good).

  10.  Permanent staff (those training recruits) have to work long hours to achieve the desired level of training for recruits. Some permanent staff join training regiments to get more stability in their lives then find themselves working 12/13 hour days—leaving very little time to spend with their families.

  11.  Individuals become too stretched with operational tours.

  12.  Injuries/compensation—this has always been an issue and is widely discussed within the media.

  13.  Family problems at home eg Grandparent raising children, of which the eldest joins the Armed Forces. Grandparent dies and eldest child has to return home to raise siblings/support them.

  As an additional note, none of the staff spoken to noticed any particular increase in the numbers leaving.

  I hope that this is of use to the Defence Committee. If WRVS can be of any further help, please do not hesitate to contact me.

18 March 2008

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