More than 5000 South African youths will this week start a career in the SA National Defence Force.
The military says about 5452 recruits will report to various centres from tomorrow to start two years of military skills development.
"During the period 6 to 16 January 2009 successful recruits will assemble at different points in the country before being transported to the various training institutions" of the four Services, the SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy and SA Military Health Service, where they will be inducted and begin basic military training (BMT), a SANDF statement says.
"The aim of the MSDS (Military Skills Development System) is two-fold, namely; to enhance the SANDF`s mission readiness through the systematic rejuvenation of its human resource composition. This is done through annual intakes of young, fit and healthy members of South Africa's population.
"Secondly, the MSDS serves as a feeder system for the Defence Reserves and seeks to provide scarce skills to the youth of the country to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the growth of its economy.
"Subsequent to their BMT, deserving MSDS recruits will be afforded an opportunity to choose training in specific careers. These include pilots, air space controllers, engineers, medical practitioners, naval combat officers, technicians, divers etcetera," the statement adds.
SANDF spokesman Lt Col Nikko Allie says MSDS intakes have recently grown year-on-year. The 2008 MSDS intake was 4280, that of 2007 4518. "It is expected that by figure will grow to about 10 000 recruits by 2010."
The department in its latest annual report credits the MSDS with dramatically changing the age and health profile of the SANDF`s junior ranks.
In 2002 just 7% of the SANDF`s privates and seamen were younger than 24 years. The report says the figure now exceeds 43% of the regular force and 51% of the total force.
"This has had a major impact upon the medical fitness and combat-readiness of members within this rank group, specifically within the SA Army."
"The MSDS remains the primary mechanism through which the Department contributes towards structured military skills development, as well as occupational-functional skills development and leadership development amongst the youth," the annual report says.
The MSDS has been in place since 2003.
Useful off site link: