UK armed forces at risk of 'international isolation'

Campaign groups have warned that the UK is becoming "increasingly isolated" internationally in continuing to recruit people below the age of 18 into the armed forces.

A report by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch found:

  • It cost an estimated minimum of £88,985 to recruit and train each new soldier aged 16 to 17-and-a-half, compared with £42,818 for each adult recruit, including salary costs
  • Initial training for minors lasted either 23 or 50 weeks, depending on the recruit's trade, but enlisting adults could complete the phase one course in 14 weeks
  • The drop-out rate for minors was 36.6% compared with 28.3% for adults but under-18s who complete training are likely to serve for 10 years rather than the 7.6-year average for over-18s

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£94m 'wasted' on young soldiers

Campaign groups have claimed the Ministry of Defence wastes up to £94 million a year training 16 and 17-year-old army recruits for roles which could be filled more cost-effectively by adults.