Mick Teasel, secretary of the Burton branch of the Staffordshire Regiment Association, welcomed the proposed legislation and said it ‘certainly would not do any harm’.
The plans, forwarded by Tory MP Philip Hollobone, would make it mandatory for those aged from 18 to 26 to spend one year serving in the armed forces, doing charity work or caring for the elderly.
They would have to live away from home and be paid the minimum wage while the state would pay for accommodation and food.
Mr Teasel said the programme would allow youngsters to gain valuable life skills such as teamwork as well as confidence and respect for other people.
He said: “It would put some of the ‘lost’ teenagers back on the straight and narrow and stop them getting into trouble.
“Some people leave school but they don’t know how to read and write properly so it could help them with that as well.”
Mr Teasel, who served in the Staffordshire Regiment for 22 years, said he gained self-respect and self-belief from his time in the forces.
He said: “It taught me how to work with people of all nationalities and it was a real confidence booster.
“I learned how to believe in myself and find out what I could do.”
Mr Teasel also said such a programme could even cut the number the number of people who take drugs.
He said: “I think the youth have lost their way a bit. It’s fine if you are achieving great things and going to university.
“But if you are a lower achiever or if you are kicked out of school and have nowhere else to go you might end up mixing with people taking drugs.
“So a programme like this could fill that gap.”
ANDY Taylor is the community development manager for the Burton Albion Community Trust, which offers sports programmes with youngsters in East Staffordshire.
He said the proposals had some benefits, such as helping to build confidence and team-building skills.
But he opposed the idea that an individual, who could be as young as 18, would have to commit to the scheme for a year.
He said: “My opinion is that there’s a need for something but it’s difficult to make it compulsory and I would be against them doing it for a full year.
“People want to be able to make decisions for themselves and some might not want to do the full 12 months.
“We have just run a four-week programme which requires a lot of commitment but it’s still only a short space of time so any programme would need to be bespoke to each individual.”
Mr Taylor said young people could be daunted by the prospect of being away from their family and friends for that amount of time.
He said: “One of our seven-week programmes would be very daunting so a full year would be very difficult.
“Nowadays there’s a lot of work being done to offer bespoke courses and it could be detrimental if these people were taken away for a year.”
Mr Taylor also said any programme should be tailored to the needs of each individual and refuted the idea it must involve military training.
He said: “I don’t think there’s one model that fits all. I completely agree with the things it could bring but it does not have to be done in a military environment.
“The respect side of things is important but taking away someone for a year would not fit everybody so there needs to be some flexibility.”