by Gordon Deegan
The Defence Forces spent €360,000 on its 2017 recruitment campaigns, resulting in 13,854 male and female applications.
The €360,000 spend on the two recruitment campaigns last year was made up of the €180,000 on content creation; €130,000 on advertising, events and merchandising with €50,000 spent on communications research and training.
The campaign had a strong digital and social media dimension with a special focus seeking to attract ‘sporty’ women.
This resulted in 1,585 women - or 11.5% of applicants - seeking to join and the focus on recruiting more women is part of the Government’s plan to double female participation in the Army from its current 6%.
The figures show that female applicants make up just under 10% of new inductees with recruitment from the 2017 continuing from recruitment panels in place.
Of the 751 inducted last year - which represents an historic high - 72 were women.
On the total 13,854 applications received, a spokeswoman for the Defence Forces said yesterday that “the level of applicants met and exceeded the Defence Forces applicant targets for 2017”.
The spokeswoman said yesterday that the €180,000 spend on content creation “included an interactive video, a 90 second video and gifs, many of these assets will be used during future recruitment competitions”.
As part of the fresh approach, the Defence Forces became the first military organisation in the world to create a first-person interactive video in the recruitment campaign
On the overall numbers seeking to join, the spokeswoman pointed out “the number of applicants eager to join the Defence Forces is a reflection of the wide variety of roles that are on offer within the organisation as well as the opportunities available to those who join, from third level education to representing Ireland in the service of peace.”
At the end of last year, the strength of the Defence Forces totalled 9,173.
The spokeswoman said that of 524 females applying for Cadetships, 20 were successful while of the 1,032 females applying for General Service Recruitment competitions last year, 52 females have been inducted so far but induction from these competitions are still ongoing.
The spokeswoman said that of the 29 females applied for Air Corps Apprenticeships, none have been inducted.
Depending on the route a person decides to join the Defence Forces they will undergo specific training, for example: an Army cadetship is 15 months, a naval cadetship is 20 months and an Air Corps Cadetship is a minimum of 30 months.
A breakdown of the inductees today shows that 615 were recruited into general made up of 553 in the army and 62 in the naval service. An additional two were recruited into military medicine; 22 air corps apprentices, 11 direct entry naval officers and 101 cadets made up of 74 in the army; 17 in naval service and 10 in the Air Corps.