Compulsory military service in Italy came to an end on 24 December 2004 but since then there has been a boom in young people volunteering to join the services for a 12-month period. A total 100,000 applications have been received for 25,000 places. Applicants range in age from 17 to 38 years old, with the majority aged between 20 and 21. Applicants from the south make up 69.5 per cent of the total, 21 per cent from the centre and 9.5 per cent from the north. A year of military service with a pay of 800 per month may be an attractive solution for young people coming from areas of very low employment. At the end of the year they can apply for one of the state forces the police, the carabiniere, the finance and customs police, the fire brigade and the forestry police. It is thought that in future, entry into these services may only be possible following a year of military service.
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