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Swedish army to jobless immigrants: we want you

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Swedish army to jobless immigrants: we want you
18:06 CEST+02:00
The Swedish Armed Forces is hoping the prospect of free food and lodging will help entice young, unemployed immigrants to join the military as part of an effort to increase diversity.

The military is offering ten weeks living like a conscript on a military base with free food and lodging, as well as the possibility to complete a high school degree as part of an effort to boost enlistment and diversity within the ranks of the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten).

"I sort of want to get away from the daily grind. And I'm also somewhat interested in the military," Tatiana Caicedo, 21, who has parents from Colombia and England, told the TT news agency.

The goal is to attract 500 participants in a new labour policy programme which is being carried out in cooperation with Sweden's National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen).

Plans call for half of the new "recruits" to be men, and half women.

"The partnership is unique," the employment agency's Soledad Grafeuille told TT.

The idea is to target unemployed youth with immigrant backgrounds and have them spend ten weeks in the autumn and winter living at military bases across the country.

They would spend half their time becoming familiarized with the Swedish military and half their time working to complete their high school degrees.

After ten weeks, the participants would have the option of applying to basic military training in order to obtain a job within the Armed Forces.

Grafeuille emphasized that the programme is totally voluntary and can be abandoned at any point without the risk of penalties.

TT/The Local/dl

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