The New Zealand Army has launched what it calls one of the country's "first e-government initiatives" -- online recruitment.
It and e-commerce hosting company esolutions say the initiative is a world-first in military recruiting -- though the US and UK army sites both offer interactive features such as online chatting with force officials -- and the New Zealand Army is the first major New Zealand organisation to go online with this sort of campaign.
The move means the New Zealand Army has moved from a paper-based recruitment process to an automated web-based format.
New Zealand Defence Force spokesman Major Kendall Langston says the move has been planned for "some years" and is not a response to current international events. The impetus was to get more young people quickly into training, "bearing in mind we are competing with other training providers like technical institutes for a dwindling number of young people," he says.
The old manual recruitment processes could take six to 12 weeks, whereas the new system can take just one or two days, though it is typically three or four. It also helps gain potential recruits from rural areas, away from army centres.
Army careers director Major Mike Shatford says the web will help the force target its campaigns better and save money without replacing face-to-face action.
Esolutions general manager Sue McCarty confirms the army has soght an online solution for several years, but has only gone into it seriously in the past few months. "The technology has only recently been there," she argues, especially concerning security.
"The system delves right back into databases and tries to eliminate all the old paperwork," she says, so protection of sensitive data is paramount.
McCarty claims the system is "completely secure" and is suitable for other government e-recruitment initiatives.