Video games the hot weapon in defence force recruiting

With its hard-pressed forces operating in the Gulf, Afghanistan and the Pacific, and desperate to attract and retain men and women to man its ships, aircraft, tanks and guns, the Australian Defence Force has turned to online war-gaming and video shorts. It has also launched a gap-year campaign to recruit school-leavers for 12 months, hoping to put them into uniform instead of farewelling them overseas for a year before returning to civilian apprenticeships, universities or careers.

Struggling against fierce competition in a job market starved of skills, the Government has committed A$3.1 billion ($3.7 billion) to boost defence recruiting and retention, including special moves to attract women and Aborigines.

The gap-year programme pays school-leavers to spend the 12 months as fully paid soldiers in the Army, with no commitment at the end but a hefty A$10,000 cash bonus if they re-enlist after completing a civilian trade or tertiary qualification.

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