Monday, 25 January 2010

The Young People's Guarantee

The Young People's Guarantee scheme comes into operation today, and there's plenty of hype surrounding it. Just what it will amount to is more doubtful. The Channel 4 news site has a succinct piece on it but anyone familiar with the welfare-to-work scene will be cautious. "Every young person who has been unemployed for at least six months will be guaranteed an offer of a job, training or work experience. The Government said the move will offer up to 470,000 opportunities over the next 15 months, benefiting almost 100,000 youngsters straight away." Notice that "training or work experience". It goes on: "The guarantee offers the chance of work through the £1 billion Future Jobs Fund, work-focused training, a place on a community task force, help with self-employment and internships." The Conservatives' Theresa May says it's very little different from the current New Deal for young people.

So what's new? The Future Jobs Fund provides money for temporary jobs only. While that will be an excellent opportunity for some, if a temporary job results in nothing more than an entry on one's CV, it will be a huge let-down. As for the rest - is it just bringing young people into the system earlier, and pushing them into unpaid work? There's a great deal of controversy around internships at the moment. And does "work-focused training" mean genuine skills training leading to qualifications?

Already there is some fudging going on. Another Channel 4 piece is headed "BT offers jobs for 3,000 youngsters" - but it goes on to say, "The firm said it will offer work placements to 3,000 youngsters to give them an insight into the world of work." Work placements (presumably unpaid) have become jobs. We can expect more of this sort of thing. What it will mean for private contractors has yet to become clear.


  1. I can see Labour churning out more of these 'good news' stories between now and the election.

    I suppose if your a young person in towns with high unemployment like Hull and Grimbsy your more likely to be offered training/placement rather than a job. But if you live in Cambridge you might possibly find more is offer. Only time will tell.

    I notice the government have blurred the distinction between a placement and a internship. An internship, in the traditional sense, is unpaid work for people who are not claiming benefits - very popular with US graduates wanting to get a foot in the door of Washington working with senators etc.

    As Historian asks, "what will it mean for private contractors". Hopefully, they will be gradually sidelined.

  2. The biggest problem with unpaid work is that many businesses could well be inundated with claiments sent to them by JCP who they may not be able to accomodate.

    Whilst there could and probably will be abuses of the system using claiments as cheap labour, looking at things from a business perspective, they simply may not have the space, time or equipment to accomodate and train another body.

    When I was at A4e in 2003, I had to arrange my own work experience! I was unsuccesful as none the small firms I contacted were not geared to take someone else on as a 'trainee'. In fact, trying to arrange work experience was akin to applying for a proper F/T position! I also remember at least one company telling me that they were sick of being bombarded with calls from training providers offering them clients for 'work' experience.

  3. I had a similar experience to Imatt trying to get an unpaid placement to gain further experience after I became a qualified IT technician in late 2008. I emailed over 15 local computer shops, got one reply and that was only to say where I did my course had a good reputation.

    Never thought it would be so difficult to giveaway free labour!

    So last year I started doing voluntary work with an IT charity. And oddly enough, discovered two of my colleagues had, like me, been to A4e on the New Deal.

  4. Even if enough organisations/companies come forward to offer work/placement/education to all those young people I doubt the government have factored in the cost of reimbursing particpants weekly travel costs.

    I read a posting on another blog site, in which someone said that if FND particpants visited the provider in addition to their official appointments,and claimed travel costs for those this would have a negative impact on their profit model! Makes you feel morally obliged to visit your provider more than neccessary every week when you knew it would eat into their profits!!!

  5. Am i missing something here? the whole point of offering work experience and training not 'jobs' is to bridge the gap of banging your head against a brick wall when potential employers state
    " we can't give you a job, as you havn't got the relevant experience" and vice versa.

    When i went into the working world that was all i was faced with and it was only through voluntary work that i proved i had a good track record,time keeping, experience in certain sectors, good references etc that employers would look at me!

    Am i missing something? please elaborate about this negativity towards a4e.

  6. Two separate points here. What people are "negative" about in the context of work experience and training is that all too often these days it doesn't and can't lead to a job. Of course your CV looks better if you've been doing something, but, as someone, said, you can't give away free labour these days. Employers don't want people on placements, and the voluntary sector is stuffed to the gills with unemployed people. People are negative about it because of their own experiences.
    As for negativity about A4e - read the rest of this blog.


Keep it clean, please. No abusive comments will be approved, so don't indulge in insults. If you wish to contact me, post a comment beginning with "not for publication".