Head of the British Army, General Sir Nicholas Carter delivered a keynote lecture today at the University of Leicester regarding the complex and strategic context in which the Army currently operates.
The event was attended by people of many multicultural backgrounds and was held by a partnership between Leicester University and the St Phillips Centre – An interfaith organisation set up to strengthen community integration.
Other subjects discussed by General Carter included how new talent is constantly being sought after and how the Army is seeking to recruit from a range of diverse cultures.
Currently only 10pc of the British Army is made up by ethnic minorities and the majority of those are drawn from the Commonwealth, not British Communities. In relation to this, General Carter said: “The Army is not as diverse as it probably needs to be.
“Like many institutions and employers these days, we need talent and we need skills. It’s my sense that if we draw from a much broader recruiting base we will get the talent that we need. For me it’s much more about the talent and that’s where diversity comes in.”
One of the reasons for General Carter’s visit to Leicester was to acknowledge the opportunity to connect to the vast amount of different communities in the city from which potential recruits might be drawn from in the future.
Regarding recent world events, Sir Carter explained that the Muslim community and the British Army share the same values and standards. He said: “If you focus on that, which is essentially our common ground, then the door will open.”
Head of Corporate Events at the University of Leicester, Jim Butler said: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer and facilitate this unique opportunity for the people and communities of our diverse city to meet and engage with Sir Nicholas Carter and develop an understanding of his unique perspective on the world.”
General Carter also played a part in women now being able to take up close combat roles: “When you look at what women have achieved on the battlefield, on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq, you can see that they are an indispensable part of what we now do. “
He added: “If you are going to move through a minefield it’s most likely that it would have been cleared by a woman and it will probably be marked by a woman. The fact is that this is a sensible evolution in terms of the role that women play within the Army already.”
General Carter has been the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army since 2014 and has led the Army through its most recent Security and Defence Review in November 2015.
By Luke Flamson