by Deborah Haynes

The Army is nearing full strength for the first time in a generation as the recession is prompting thousands of young people to sign up.

Recruitment rose by 14 per cent in the six months to March 31 compared with a year earlier. It is expected to reach full strength in 2011 after years in which it struggled to win recruits.

There are also fewer people leaving. The number who quit the Armed Forces in 2008 dropped by 8.3 per cent year on year as fear of competing in a shrinking civilian jobs market persuaded more to stay on. […]

Hitting the full strength target of 101,790 soldiers will help to ease pressure on troops in the field, many of whom have endured multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. There is currently a deficit of about 2,550.

An overhaul of recruiting techniques, including internet and television campaigns, and a softening of public opinion towards the Armed Forces after the unpopular war in Iraq are also helping to boost numbers.

Source: The Times (UK)