UNEMPLOYMENT / OCT. 23, 2013
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Youth Boot Camps Promise to Help Unemployed Youngsters

Youth unemployment boot camps are an example of how organisations and governments respond nowadays to the challenges of the economic crisis that leaves many young people out of work. These boot camps target school leavers aged 15 to 21 with the aim of instilling a sense of discipline to help them build life and employment skills so that they can integrate in the labour market easily.  

This article will explore two interesting cases of Boot camps that helped young people enter the realm of employment.

Aspect.co.uk boot camp

In the UK, the property firm aspect.co.uk organised its first bootcamp for unemployed young people in 2012 in order to tackle youth unemployment and help change young people’s poor attitude to work. The camp involved a series of physical and mental tests – including a bicycle race, literacy and numeracy tests, as well as a picture frame construction test, and the top achiever was awarded with an apprenticeship.

According to the co-founder of the property firm, Will Davies, Britain lacks a strong work ethic and young people tend to  reconcile themselves to unemployment. The purpose of the boot camp was to stimulate youngsters’ passion for job hunting and compel them to recognise the value of employment.

A boot camp for young unemployed in Australia  

A similar initiative was recently proposed in Australia as part of a range of election campaign strategy proposals by the Labour Government. The idea is that young job seekers aged 15 to 21 will have to attend army-style camps, enforcing strong discipline, in order to be paid the dole.  The Government can use different wilderness and adventure boot camps, from those teaching work-ready skills like discipline, presentation and attitude to those targeting young repeat offenders.

Interestingly, the Brahminy Foundation’s Wilderness Camp is tough and intense but its programmes contain a healing element, which include long stays of up to a year and 21-day wilderness hikes. 

In addition, Boystown is another programme running in Queensland which mixes adventure-based learning, sport and outdoor activities with employment schemes to help young men and women aged 15 to 25. According to a Monash University study, 61% of participants in Boystown programs found full-time employment while 12% found part-time or side work.

I personally view boot camps as a valuable initiative that can equip unemployed youngsters with vital skills that are necessary and highly appreciated in the workplace. But with youth unemployment in Australia reaching 17.3% (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and in the UK 21% (Commons Library Standard Note), I doubt that they can do enough in the short term to solve youth unemployment. In my opinion, it needs a long-term strategy and revolutionary approach by businesses, ministers and schools combined. 

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