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1,500 rookies battle for just 27 cadet posts

AROUND 1,500 young men and women are expected to be clambering for 27 army cadetships by the end of the month.

The Defence Forces have launched a nationwide recruitment for trainee soldiers, naval officers and air corp pilots.

The Herald has learned that the competition for places is expected to be unprecedented with as many as 50 people likely to apply for every single position.

Army chiefs are promising the opportunity to be trained by some of the most skilled professionals in the world.

The applicants, aged between 17 and 28, will undergo a series of tough fitness and psychologist tests during the interview process, which begins in August.

A breakdown of the much-coveted 27 places shows that there are 20 army cadetships on offer, along with five naval positions and two prestigious places in the air corps.

Recruitment has been extremely restricted since the Government introduced a moratorium on public sector hiring in early 2009.

However, the Defence Forces has a targeted strength of 10,000 officers but currently the figure stands at 9,809.

In light of this, the Department of Finance has sanctioned the very limited recruitment drive for this year.

Last year, 42 places (30 army cadet and 12 naval) were offered, with a massive 1,316 people submitting applications -- 35 of those offered places were graduates.