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To think post GCSE's/A-Levels National Service is a good idea

(15 Posts)
ElvishArchdruid Sat 18-Feb-17 02:55:02

I don't mean military training, but a set period of at least 18 months, where school leavers give something back to the community, paid at an apprenticeship rate.

It could provide young people with transferable skills and experiences useful for the work place or University. This year could focus on life skills, many of which can be picked up as a matter of course, without too much training.

It could start with 3 months where basic life skills are taught, such as dealing with your finances, running a house (bills and cleaning), communication skills, how to be a good employee, just as a brief example. For a set time it could include a residential, where a group of young adults maintain a house, put theoretical skills into practise. A bit like a taster of independent life.

Then in set blocks, options are provided so that experience can be gained in many different areas. It would help a young adult with what they want to do career wise, either helping them apply for a training scheme in a certain field, or a University course linked to an ultimate career goal. One of the blocks, focussing on giving back to the community, which could involve working to make a difference for others in a positive way.

If a person had military interests, as an example, they could gain experience of what a soldier does, but apply it to the local community. As that is something soldiers do, peace keeping exercises. In practical terms, helping out of a weekend, maintaining order alongside bouncers and the police. The same with events. Helping those heavily intoxicated at centres which watch over persons deemed at risk, like St John's Ambulance do now. Others could provide hands on help for the homeless at a soup shelter, serving food, talking to service users to see if you can help.

Maybe I'm totally bonkers, I just think it would be helpful to get further experience, in an area of interest, to see if it's what they imagined. Work experience for a week isn't overly useful. Teaching life skills and giving experience of living without parents, help promotes independence, plus an understanding of trying to optimise your life. So keeping a living space clean, preparing food, managing money, avoiding debt.

The weekend/event example teaches them invaluable skills, seeing first hand how a night out can go wrong, being prepared, being responsible etc. Taking away the rose tinted beliefs around getting wasted and what constitutes having a good time.

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sat 18-Feb-17 03:06:56

How do they pay their bills and buy cleaning products on an apprentice wage?

Somerville Sat 18-Feb-17 03:07:01

A lot of what you describe sounds like University TBH. Only without the intellectual stimulation and resulting expansion and discovery.

At 18 I knew how to look after myself and budget and cook. I knew what I wanted to study. I didn't need an enforced gap year to spend on university-lite.

Maybe something like that thought for school leavers who aren't going on to university? But I think anything like that should be optional. You don't want people there who have no interest.

manicinsomniac Sat 18-Feb-17 03:07:30

Well, I wouldn't have wanted to do it.

As an option, it sounds like it has merit.

But to make it compulsory ... not harmful but not what a lot of 18 year olds want or need, imo.

citybushisland Sat 18-Feb-17 03:13:17

Some of us teach our children life skills at home. So no, not what I would want for them at all.

ScarlettFreestone Sat 18-Feb-17 03:17:29

How would it be paid for? It would be very expensive. There would be a huge amount to organise and administrate.

I don't think it's necessarily and completely dreadful idea but I'm not sure it would really be workable.

However if either of my children leave high school without being able to cook and clean for themselves I would feel my DH and I had failed as parents.

ElvishArchdruid Sat 18-Feb-17 04:29:58

Ok so an option, rather than you have to do it.

I recall from my second job, people who had left Uni with a decent degree, but went into the work I was doing as a teenager. I got work experience, then followed my calling. Back then if you suggested something 'different' to the careers advisor, they were pleasant enough about your aspirations, but didn't really give any guidance as it was a male dominated industry, hard to break as a girl. Pretty much was told to consider 'gender typical' jobs.

Whilst I stayed in the same industry I had aspirations to work in at school, after studying up to post graduate level, I appreciate the experience I got prior, mostly because it gave me skills that graduates didn't have.

For those who are unsure of what direction to go in, it could be an option.

Funding wise, it could be considered a bridging year. When taking work experience, the company would pay you the apprenticeship rate. When volunteering, the state could pay the same, out of a magic government money tree maybe, sponsored by companies to receive a tax break, or budgeted for somehow.

The properties would be state/LA owned and would provide furniture and appliances. Such houses would be utilised during the initial training, showing how the tutor would do things. Groups would be rotated, so they get a set time living in such a place whilst earning. A set amount would be put in a kitty, to get groceries including cleaning materials. Housemates take turns in cooking and cleaning. Inspections would take place, if your house passes, a reward could be given depending on the score achieved for household management. Again the reward would come from my magic government money tree, sponsored by businesses or budgeted somehow. The reward could be used for a treat, or split as a deduction in what the housemates would pay.

Most towns and cities have building that have sat empty for ages.

I do think it might be a bit condescending for some, but I also think it could be valuable for others.

I know 'some' parents teach their children life skills. There are those who do not. It's decades since I was at school, but in home economics we learnt a multitude of cakes, biscuits, scones etc, but not much of worldly use. It's promoting positive life skills.

It could be a great leveller for those who come from poorer backgrounds, who may have had parents on long term benefits. Instilling a system that is positive in saying you are the keeper of your destiny. If you put your mind to it you can pretty much do anything.

The last bit relates to what I was reading about people's assertions on MS. Motivating those from poorer backgrounds, who may have had a variety of attitudes instilled into them.

ElvishArchdruid Sat 18-Feb-17 04:36:29

I should add it's all a pipe dream, I don't have any expectations that any such model will ever exist. It's far too flowery & Disney like.

The only thing similar that I'm aware of is The Princes Trust. I think that helps people up till 30. There's also the Duke of Edinburgh award, which focusses on some of the things mentioned. So I guess royalty aren't that bad.

I also understand that cooking, cleaning, budgeting etc, are all pretty much common sense. Some people do still struggle though.

sashh Sat 18-Feb-17 07:40:17

LadyCallandraDaviot Sat 18-Feb-17 07:47:30

NCS does a mini version of this, OK it's only 3 weeks, but the teenagers do have to budget their money and work together to cook and clean a flat for a week, and do some community service, as well as building confidence etc. DS1 did it a couple of years ago and was shocked how little some of the other teens could do. DS2 will be doing it this summer, and is really looking forward to it.

BaconMaker Sat 18-Feb-17 07:55:39

I don't think it would be a good idea because with increased automation there's already a shortage of jobs and apprenticeships for people who actually want them let alone forcing unwilling teenagers into it. It would also be a major disadvantage academically to those who want to go on to university (people who did gap years in STEM subjects are already at a disadvantage).

I like the idea generally though of teenagers being forced to grow up and contribute just not sure how it could work practically.

wigglesrock Sat 18-Feb-17 07:57:06

Oh so its more for those from a poorer background, who may have had attitudes you don't agree with instilled in them hmm ? And you're worried it may be a little condescending?

BeyondThePage Sat 18-Feb-17 08:34:35

DD is doing National Citizenship Service (NCS) this summer. Shorter time frame, similar goals.

babybythesea Sat 18-Feb-17 08:48:55

I would have died a little inside. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, I went to uni to get the degree I needed, I did a course that included a year's work experience, I landed a job before I'd graduated and was working a week after sitting my finals. I am not cut out for the regimented army style life, I would have hated the communal living aspect and been really miserable, and it would have delayed me actually cracking on with the career I was desperate to do and have loved for the last 20 years.
There are some people who may thrive on it. I wouldn't have been one of them. For every individual who gained something I would say there would be as many who were made miserable by it.
Voluntary? Maybe. But then surely people who want to do that sort of thing and have the motivation to sign up do so anyway, go into the army or similar. Those who might benefit but have no inclination to sort it out for themselves just won't sign up.

VirgilsStaff Sat 18-Feb-17 08:58:19

I learnt all the basic life skills from the age of about 10 or so. Combination of decent normal parenting, Brownies/Girl Guides and just learning to grow up.

So I don't think that sort of training is needed. But I do think that a required gap year for all young people leaving secondary education is a good idea. National civic service, if you like. A year involved in various projects, including child care, civic maintenance, gardening, cleaning off graffiti, street cleaning etc; hose building for local authorities; apprentice teaching etc etc etc. All paid a basic wage by the state.

No get outs, even for the rich boys. Hours not onerous so elite sports players, ballet dancers, musicians etc could keep up with age-sensitive training.

Then they can go to university, jobs, apprenticeships etc.

I think it's good for kids to get off the education treadmill, where a certain proportion of the 18 year old population, and their parents, see university as inevitable and an entitlement. And I would get to teach young people who want to be at university, having experienced some other kinds of life & work.

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