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Estonian defense ministry begins work with job portals to train conscripts

EDF conscripts' boots on the ground.
EDF conscripts' boots on the ground. Source: Karl Jakob Toplaan

In December, the Estonia Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with various job portals, began training conscripts to help them find work more quickly after completing their service, as well as how to use the skills acquired during service on the labor market.

"Our aim is to give conscripts an overview of the labor market, as well as the skills they acquired during their service and how to use them in the labor market," said Martin Reisner, head of the Ministry of Defense's defense resolve development department.

"If we compare the incomes of reservists and non-reservists in the labor market, a study conducted by the University of Tartu in 2019 shows that 3 – 4 years after completing military service, the incomes of reservists are 13 – 19 percent higher. We can say that thanks to the skills acquired during their compulsory military service reservists earn nearly €1,000 more per year than those who have not completed compulsory military service," Reisner added.

During the seminars, conscripts will receive an overview of the current threat situation, the strengths and challenges of national defense, the skills acquired during conscription, and the role and responsibilities of reservists in Estonian national defense.

"We clearly see that it is important for conscripts heading to the reserve to understand their role and responsibility as reservists, that is, as the main force of Estonia's national defense," said Markus Rosin, defense resolve adviser at the Ministry of Defense.

"Next year, we plan to reach all structural units within the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) with the project, with the aim of increasing the readiness of future reservists to participate in both reservist training exercises and defense activities," Rosin said.

According to a press release, the Ministry of Defense is now working on a number of initiatives to enhance the role of reservists in Estonian society. Among them are the Defenders of the State Supporter Campaign, conducted this spring, which recognized 50 companies and organizations that maintain the pay of reservists while they participate in reservist training exercises, and offer various benefits and incentives to those defending the Estonian state.

"In cooperation with job portals, we also encourage reservist jobseekers to mention their experience gained during military service on their CVs and in motivation letters," Rosin said.

Next spring, prior to another large-scale training exercise, Estonia plans to organize a "reservists' week," based on the Israeli reservist training experience. During the week,  events and campaigns will be aimed at defenders of the state and their families.

Seminars aimed at conscripts will have been attended by nearly 220 conscripts this year, who will soon be heading into the reserves. This amounts to around a third of the conscripts who began their compulsory military service in January 2023.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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