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Belgian army on the hunt for new recruits

13:58 22/03/2022

The Belgian army is looking to recruit around 2,500 soldiers. It’s hoping to attract young people, including women and those with technical skills, RTL reports.

The army’s air force aimed to dazzle potential young recruits with a helicopter landing on the grounds of a school in Ans, near Liège, on Monday.

Onboard was an electromechanic representing one of the profiles the army is looking for in order to operate a new generation of high-tech aircraft.  “The military has always impressed me, ever since I was a child,” said electromechanic Sélim. 

“I've always been intrigued by it. It's a very nice job, very courageous, you have to have the desire and the mindset.”

Belgium is expanding its fleet of aircraft with more modern planes, and needs more people like Sélim. 

“In the coming years we will have a lot of new planes. The whole fleet will be renewed, so we will need young people to work with all these new resources,” explained Kurt Verwilligen, head of communication for the Belgian army.

With the army also attempting to sign up young women, one young girl was suitably impressed by the display. “I have an enormous respect for you, I admit my heart is beating,” she told them. Although women only make up around 10% of enlisted personnel, they are mainly present among the high ranking officers.

The war in Ukraine has sparked new interest in joining the military among young people, who often refer to the conflict during recruitment sessions. 

Some 300 soldiers have just left for Romania to defend NATO's borders, which has bolstered recruitment efforts. The biggest challenge, perhaps, will be retention: one in two soldiers leave the army after just one year.

Photo: Belgian Defence recruitment event


Written by Helen Lyons