Army using gaming to branch out to future Wirral soldiers

FANCY testing your ability as a soldier from the comfort of your armchair?

Now, thanks to a sophisticated new computer game developed and launched by the British Army, residents in Birkenhead can test their skills, attributes and decision making powers to see what sort of soldier they could make by simply searching 'Start Thinking Soldier' online and taking part in a mission.

The game centres round a series of challenges where participants can test and develop the kind of skills that are used by soldiers but within a discreet, online environment.

The decisions they make as part of their mission, will signpost people onto roles in the Army which are likely to be most suitable, while providing valuable feedback on their own skills and weaknesses.

Following research conducted by Populus on behalf of the Army, 68 per cent of 17-21 year olds have no clear career path in mind, an uncertainty that is directly related to the fact that 86 per cent are unaware of their own personal strengths and weaknesses.

This in turn can lead to a growing trend of changing career path further down the line, with 77 per cent of over 30’s changing career path at least once.

In the North West, 46 per cent of the 17-21 year olds surveyed 'have a vague career path in mind' for their future and 55 per cent said they have 'faced barriers to getting the job they would really like.

Not having the right experience - 65%, not getting good enough careers advice at school - 42%, and not 'having enough money to pursue a career' - 64% - were considered to be the main factors for this.

In this region, 82 per cent also felt they would like to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses.

Start Thinking Soldier launched on Monday, April 6, with the first in a series of four TV commercials that will roll out consecutively over a four month period - each unlocking a corresponding online mission.

Each commercial brings to life one of four key areas of Army expertise including teamwork, decision making, leadership and fitness and mental sharpness.

At the end of each film, the viewer is presented with a decision making dilemma and is asked to decide “What would you do?” from a choice of three options. The first mission features an explosives factory in the desert.

As the viewer approaches the factory they are given the options: to burst in through the doors, to carry out an air strike or to blow a hole in the wall.

Each commercial concludes with a voice-over stating “Show us your Army skills….Start Thinking Soldier. Online.” Once online, you make your choice and are given immediate feedback on your decision.

You then go on to take part in a whole range of online challenges that test a variety of skills including observation, problem solving, intelligence, memory, navigation, and awareness - all resulting in detailed feedback on your own performance and natural skills and weaknesses.

Participants will be encouraged to re-enter the online challenges as many times as they like with relevant training exercises, enabling users to hone their skills and help improve their performance.

In total there are over two hours of challenging missions to take part in online.

Participants will also be invited to Start Thinking Soldier events across the North West this year including the Army Careers Exhibition (ACE) at Altcar training camp, Merseyside in October, where they can meet soldiers and try out new missions and equipment.

Lieutenant Colonel Leanda Pitt, Commander of Regional Recruiting (North West) said: “Each year in the North West, the Army needs to recruit approximately 2,000 quality soldiers and in order to do so we must look for exciting, engaging and innovative new ways to target our recruiting base.

"Start Thinking Soldier is a more discreet and personal way for people to test their Army skills and receive invaluable personal insights, whether or not they are considering a career in the Army.

"The game reflects our Army training which focuses on the individual, bringing people’s strengths to the fore and providing world class training to help to develop their potential.“ SSgt Douglas Steel, senior recruiter for Birkenhead Army Careers Information Office (ACIO), added: “We anticipate the game to be well received by people in Birkenhead.

"We ask anyone who needs more information about Start Thinking Soldier or joining the Army to pop by the office on Oxton Road or give us a call."

The British Army offers a choice of 140 trade groups in professions from pilots to chefs and mechanics to musicians.

Whoever you think you want to be, whatever you think you want to do, search Start Thinking Soldier now to test your own Army Skills online and find out more about the real you.

Visit for more information.