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Army recruits sold a lie by ad campaign, says mum

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image copyrightMOD
image captionRifleman William Aldridge died aged 18 in Afghanistan
The mum of the youngest soldier to die in Afghanistan says she is "appalled" by the Army's new drive to attract recruits lacking in confidence.
The adverts will target social media users, gym addicts and drinkers.
Lucy Aldridge, whose son William, 18, died in a bomb blast in 2009, said young people were "being a sold a lie".
"If you're taking on people that are already lacking in confidence, this is something that could ultimately break them," she said.
The drive will see posters and adverts claim members of the armed forces enjoy a "lifetime of confidence" rather than the brief boost that might be achieved by having a few drinks or going to the gym.
image copyrightKarmarama
YouGov research carried out by the Prince's Trust claiming young people believe they are held back by a lack of self-confidence has inspired the campaign, the Army said.
But Ms Aldridge, from Bromyard in Herefordshire, said it was targeting the wrong people and she had been left aghast by its previous campaign which targeted "snowflakes" or "millennials".
"This year they are actually targeting people who are lacking in confidence and suggesting that Army training is something that can give you confidence.
"That may be the case for some people but it will be a minority where that would act as a confidence-boosting exercise.
"If you're going to recruit from a pool of people that are already lacking in self-confidence, you are giving them the belief that Army recruitment is something that will help them in all areas of their life that they maybe don't have at the moment - that's not true."
Adrian Major echoed Ms Aldridge's concerns. His son Jimmy, from Cleethorpes, was 18 when he was killed by a rogue Afghan policeman in November 2009.
"My son joined the Army because he wanted a career, not because he needed a boost in his confidence," he said.
"At the end of the day if you get into the Army you're going to be carrying weapons and guns. You are putting your life on the line fighting for your country."
image copyrightFamily handout
image captionGuardsman Jimmy Major was killed in 2009
Col Nick MacKenzie, the Army's head of recruitment, previously said the campaign builds on the success of last year's drive for sign-ups.
In the 12 months to August 2019, 13,520 people joined the regular armed forces - an increase of 1,593 compared to the previous year. But 14,880 people also left, up from 14,860 in 2018.
Of those signing up to join, only 10% get through the basic training.
The Army has been contacted for a response to the parents' concerns.

Related Topics

  • British Army
  • Cleethorpes
  • Bromyard

More on this story

  • Army urges young people lacking confidence to join