Bringing business and education together to increase brand
awareness is difficult. To fill a need in the curriculum, while meeting
the business objectives is even harder. This is the challenge facing the
British Army as it attempts to boost recruitment among young people.
The British Army has been working with education business strategists
Education and Youth (E&Y) since 1992. The latest initiative, School
Challenger, focused on introducing the British Army to students through
outdoor activies and through the school curriculum.
Education and Youth were appointed to create a programme that fitted
within the British Army’s recruitment strategy. It had to define the
values of the modern British Army for local secondary schools and
further education colleges. The target audience was primarily
opinion-formers, including secondary school teachers and careers
advisers. The object was to establish a relationship with them, so that
they would provide an unbiased view of the British Army as a career
choice to their 13-to-19-year-old, full-time students.
The Army identified areas of the curriculum that were relevant to army
skills and found history, maths and geography as areas where the Army
could fill a gap.
E&Y called upon experts to put together branded education packs. The Map
Pack consisted of ordinance survey maps, satellite images and aerial
photographs, with overlapping co-ordinates so that students could see
different ways to interpret a geographic area. The Maths Pack helped
students interpret technical drawings. The History Pack looked at
strategy as well as the history of war.
The School Challenger programme also provided a helpline to support the
needs of teachers and career advisers throughout the UK. Teachers could
request more information, extend an invitation to Army personnel to talk
to the schools or to arrange for school field trips.
The students benefiting from the Army packs were able to interpret the
army culture and to understand the intellectual and physical challenges
of army life. In addition to the packs, E&Y invited students to
experience army culture and teamwork along with the outdoor
Approximatetly 15 per cent of the budget was devoted to research and
A two-way dialogue has developed between the British Army and 15,000
schools. It has communicated positive messages to a crucial
The British Army believes that its role and functions are better
understood as a result of the campaign.
As for media coverage, extensive local radio and newspaper publicity has
been achieved. The BBC has covered events, along with commercial radio
and a broad spectrum of newspapers, including the Manchester Evening
News, the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Northern Echo and the Camden New
When the project first started, there was some reluctance by school
opinion formers to recommend the Army as a career move. The training
packs and events have put the Army in a better position to communicate
its messages on a local and national level. As a result, many more
activities are created on behalf of the British Army than were possible
a few years ago.
Careers advisers and teachers are arranging work experience during
holidays or weekends with the British Army to enable school children to
gain first hand experience. Teachers, careers advisers and children are
increasingly seeing the British Army as a useful training tool both in
and outside the classroom.
E&J is currently preparing for its next programme, Pathfinder, which
aims to encourage school children to take their soon-to-be compulsory
work-placement with the British Army.
Client: British Army
PR Team: Education and Youth (E&Y)
Campaign: School Challenger
Timescale: Spring 1996 to December 1997