These young men have decided to work their lives as mercenaries. While some may have been forced by circumstaces to do this (often giving them some invaluable experience), most of them are not even aware of the horrors that lie ahead on this path. To veterans it may seem like foolishness what they're doing, but perhaps it's this youthful enthusiasm of theirs that will help them get past the hardships to come and become fully fledged warriors themsleves (no guts, no glory).
Despite their courage, it will not be enough to keep them alive in a serious fight. They have weak equipment and little skill, barely able to match that of bandits. A wise commander will try to keep them away from danger, so that they may watch and learn what to do from true professionals. The least they should assist with in a fight is to put their light crossbows to good use.