I see that the Coppers are thinking about getting all recruits to work for free and also pay for their own training (BBC News - New Met Police officers 'recruited from volunteers' ). Notwithstanding the utter, utter lunacy of this (see the dissection of the idea by Police blogger Inspector Gadget here: POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG) it seems it could well come to pass. We already have students coming out of Uni with a degree of often dubious merit, having spent three otherwise productive (i.e. earning, saving, pension-hoarding) years doing little, and with the bonus of a huge debt. This is now accepted, even though it would have been completely unthinkable a few years ago. You can see where Im leading. Given that the MOD is seriously short of dosh . Consider this. We are at full manning, or very close, which indicates that people are very keen to join,; they are already willing to wait a long time for a training place. The cost of training young soldiers is high. There must be a strong temptation to either reduce their pay, or get them to work for free, while being trained. If we could get them to actually pay for that training Bonus! If it could be camouflaged (as the police scheme would be, Im sure) as gaining work experience and given some sort of public service tag, then it could well be sold to the public. It will still be, of course, the use of free/slave labour, getting work out of people in the possible hope of paid employment at the end, and in my view morally reprehensible, but since when has that ever stopped anything? Or am I just being hopelessly paranoid?