§ Mr. Colin Shepherd
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to increase the flexibility of entry of seamen officers into the Royal Navy.
§ Mr. Speed
Yes. A new three and a half year commission for seamen officers will be introduced early next year. This aims to strike a reasonable balance between obtaining an adequate return on training and being sufficiently attractive to young men who nowadays generally want to try a number of jobs before selecting a career. A three and a half year commission will enable them to try the Royal Navy where previously they found the engagements offered too long. Nevertheless, it is hoped that many of the additional young men attracted into the Royal Navy by the scheme will, after directly experiencing naval life, choose to extend their period of service. National advertising of the scheme will begin shortly.