Almost 5,000 students starting in work camps

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Imavere and Kabala student work camp. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

On Monday, June 14, the student work camp (Estonian: Malev) summer schedule starts: 4,839 teenagers are to get a job over the summer with the help of the national student work camp program, ERR reports.

Working on such camps is an important part of the lives of many students, and is mostly remembered as a positive life event. However, sometimes problems occur.

The director of Tartu's Youth Work Center, Grete Sarap, said that for the first time, there are issues with finding students to come and work in the work camps outside of the cities.

Sarap said, however, that after sending direct invites to the work camps, the emptier groups have started to fill up. In addition to finding, student participants, employers are needed for the camps to function.

Manager of the Tallinn student work camp, Ott Välja, said they haven't had any difficulties with finding their students, but rather with finding workplaces.

"The employer side has definitely suffered; there are fewer employers than at the camps before the coronavirus crisis and thus, the work selection is more scarce. The coronavirus crisis has affected companies. For example, the tourism section and there are fewer employers," Välja said.

The Education and Youth Board (Haridus- ja noorteamet) is arranging the state funding of the work camps. Chief expert at the board Kerli Kängsepp said that the camps' first shift starts on Monday.

The 5,000 places were filled quickly, she said, meaning there were a lot of students that weren't able to get a place. The work camps are operating in all 15 of Estonia's counties.

"The students are mostly working in the local government's sector and doing several maintenance jobs- cutting grass, planting plants, working in cemeteries etc. There are also groups that pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries," Kängsepp said.

Students usually work for four to seven hours a day, while there are also informal studying activities. One shift lasts a maximum of three weeks. The students mostly earn the minimum wage, which is €3.48 an hour.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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