• June 25, 2015


‘the armed forces are unique in that they are the only employer where recruits accept, as a normal function of their employment, that they may need to harm or kill other human beings’

The Welsh Assembly Petition Committee’s report on its investigation into armed forces recruitment visits to schools in Wales has finally been published.

The report at 35 pages is very comprehensive and objective. It highlights a disproportionate number of recruitment visits to schools in deprived areas.

Certainly from a Celtic League perspective National branches and organisations concerned about recruitment tactics used by the military could possibly use this to press governments in Scotland and Mann or indeed the relevant Local Education Authorities to carry out a similar objective assessment.

The key recommendations are as follows;

‘Recommendation 1: We recommend that the Welsh Government considers whether further research is needed into the reasons for the apparently disproportionate number of visits to schools in areas of relatively high deprivation.’ [‘There does seem to be evidence that the armed forces disproportionately visit schools in areas of relatively high deprivation. ‘However, there is no compelling evidence that shows that the armed forces deliberately target schools in these areas.‘]

‘Recommendation 2: We recommend that the Welsh Government reviews the Careers and the World of Work Curriculum Framework to ensure that guidance in relation to inviting the armed forces into schools takes account of their unique nature as a career and the need to encourage an open and honest exchange of views with pupils about their role.‘ [‘the armed forces are unique in that they are the only employer where recruits accept, as a normal function of their employment, that they may need to harm or kill other human beings. Relatively high risks of injury or death are not unique to the armed forces but asking recruits to deliberately put themselves in positions where these risks are maximised is also different to most other jobs. From this perspective, inviting the armed forces into schools should perhaps be treated with considerably more care than other potential employers…It would be naïve to believe that in visiting schools the forces have no interest in projecting themselves as providing interesting and accessible career opportunities. However, the evidence we have received from schools, pupils and education authorities is that the fine line between informing pupils of potential career choices and actively recruiting pupils is one that is not crossed. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that visits to schools are balanced and conducted in a way that allows pupils to ask and receive honest answers to their questions. Schools should also be concerned to ensure that the often very necessary work of the armed forces is not overly glamorised and that the risks are clearly explained…we believe that young people, with the support and guidance of their teachers are more than capable of reaching their own judgement on the morality of the armed forces role. Indeed, they should be encouraged to think about these issues when the forces visit schools. Despite this, what came across very clearly to us from our visit to Prestatyn High School was that schools would welcome further guidance on inviting the armed forces into schools to ensure that visits are balanced and appropriate. We agree that this could be a sensible improvement.‘]

‘Recommendation 3: We recommend that the Welsh Government gives further consideration to how schools, businesses and employers can best be supported to ensure that a diverse range of businesses and employers visit schools to provide pupils with information about the career opportunities they offer.’

And, from the Conclusion: ‘We are extremely grateful to the petitioners for submitting this petition. It has raised a very legitimate area of concern about the recruitment of young people by the armed forces. We are sympathetic to those concerns and agree that there is a need for continuing vigilance to ensure that the legitimate role of informing pupils of the work and role of the armed forces does not become a naked recruitment vehicle.‘

(Our thanks to Owen Everett at FORCESWATCH for information and advice on this article)

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961 and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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