Lord Moonie – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Defence

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Moonie on 2016-04-26.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effects on (1) the individual, and (2) the armed forces, of the enlistment of persons under the age of 18.

Earl Howe

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) operates in a competitive employment market and will continue to recruit from the widest available talent pool, including from the age of 16 in order to sustain the required manning levels for the UK Armed Forces. Young people bring fresh ideas, knowledge and talent to the Armed Forces. MOD policy dictates that no one under the age of 18 can join the Armed Forces without specific parental consent, both for the recruiting process to begin and again prior to joining; nor can they be deployed on front line operations.

All recruits aged under 18 benefit from key skills education in literacy and numeracy, should they need it, and all are enrolled onto apprenticeships. The Armed Forces remain the UK’s largest apprenticeship provider, equipping young people with valuable and transferable skills for life. Ofsted regularly inspects our care of newly joined young recruits, and we are very proud of the standards we achieve.

The provision of education and training for 16 year-old school leavers provides a route into the Armed Forces that complies with Government education policy and offers a significant foundation for emotional, physical and educational development throughout an individual’s career.