The government has splurged $20m putting 3,300 unemployed people through 6 week-long military ‘boot camps (the $6K per head cost is the same as 6 months on on dole). Result: up to 3 years later, only 19% have jobs. Compares to the typical stint of unemployment of 12 weeks. Looks a lot like the Nats are pouring money into a programme that makes unemployment worse.
OK. A person taking a boot camp course is likely to be a harder case than your typical unemployed person. For one, they’ve got to be reasonably confident they’re not going to be getting a job in the next 6 weeks before they would bother committing themselves. But they can’t be too hard case – wouldn’t get past the Army’s security and fitness requirements. And, even allowing for this, the numbers are extraordinarily bad. Only 19% of participants have jobs up to 3 years after doing the course and only 34% are in training. In the country as a whole, over 90% of people are no longer unemployed after a year.
Underlying premise of these boot camps seems to be that unemployed people are just too lazy to work. Good dose of army discipline will knock it out of them. Why else would you think that putting people in an army context for 6 weeks would help them get a job? This notion disproven by a number of facts 1) back when there were jobs, people took them. Were just 17,000 people on the dole (now 55,000) and the median duration of unemployment was 6 weeks (now 12). Ether people suddenly got more lazy in the last 4 years or it’s a lack of jobs that’s the problem 2) people taking the course have generally held jobs before 3) this is a voluntary 6-week course. Anyone lacking the ability to make a commitment isn’t going to be there. So, the roots of this is just more,unjustified rightie prejudice against unemployed people.
This is the same government, incidentally, that cut $2 million from the Tertiary Education Allowance, which was giving solo mums actual skills to help them into work.
And, no, we definitely can’t afford to extend paid parental leave.
With important things like useless boot camps to pay for, there simply isn’t the money.
[PS. I love MSD’s defence of the programme “While those numbers aren’t great, officials say the programme has wider aims. The Ministry of Social Development says that the programme’s success should also be measured in how it gives trainees more confidence, so when they leave they’re less likely to accept being unemployed and more likely to try and find work.” Except … the numbers tell a rather different story, eh?]