Missile launchers come to Cosham as army reserve units join forces for their first joint recruitment event
Army reserve units from across Portsmouth have joined forces for the first time – to recruit a new generation of part-time soldiers.
The event saw five units introduce visitors to a range of equipment, from missile launchers to an attack helicopter at the Army Reserve Centre, in Tudor Crescent, Cosham.
A Surface-to-Air Missile Launcher – the type placed on rooftops during the 2012 London Olympics – was provided by the 106th Royal Artillery, while troops from the 6 Regiment Army Air Corp gave visitors a tour of a Lynx helicopter.
The 243 Field Hospital constructed a makeshift triage centre, the Princesses of Wales’s Royal Regiment allowed potential recruits to handle the new Sharpshooter rifle, and the Royal Electrical Engineers demonstrated how virtual reality was aiding troops in combat.
Colour Sergeant Richard Coffin, of the PWRR, said: ‘This is the first time the units have got together to do a combined recruitment event – it shows all the different things you can do in the army.
‘In the past you would turn up to an event where only the PWWR were represented, for example, and people would ask about non-infantry jobs and we might not have an answer, so that person could be lost.'
‘By doing this, it doesn't matter what they’re interested in – they can see the broad spectrum of roles within the army.’
The minimum commitment for the army reserves is 19 days per years for national units and 27 days for regional units, with paid training.
Potential recruits highlighted low wages and negative attitudes about the armed forces as barriers for recruitment.
Jack Moss, 19, studying Computer Science at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘A lot of it is wages.
‘When people leave our course, they could be looking at six figure salaries in their careers – that’s a big difference to army career salaries.’
An existing army reservist and former Sea Cadet, Patrick Milnes, also studying in the Computing Department at the university, admitted the army faced a ‘hard sell.’
He said: 'I think if the army put on a more aggressive campaign – and not employ Capita – they would be more successful.’
Earlier this year outsourcing company Capita came under fire from the Public Accounts Committee for its handling of army recruitment, which was labelled as ‘abysmal.'
The reserve units will be hosting a presentation evening for potential recruits at the Duke of Connaught Barracks, Hilsea, on Tuesday June 11 at 7pm.