For the first time ever, 16 and 17 year olds are being helped to find work by Jobcentre Plus, in a bid to drive down youth unemployment even further.
In a groundbreaking new scheme, specially-trained Jobcentre work coaches will join up with local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to help around 3,000 teenagers, who are not in work, education or training, to tap into local employment and training opportunities.
Pilots have been taking place in Lewisham, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Sheffield since May and will, from today (24 October 2014), be rolled out into another 30 local authority areas across England to help more young people find work and training.
Work coaches in Jobcentres will give one-to-one help, including CV writing, interview skills, providing access to training and job matching.
Minister for Employment Esther McVey said:
Because of this government’s long term economic plan, we have seen the largest fall in youth unemployment since records began. Jobcentre work coaches have a huge amount of expertise, experience and local labour market knowledge, getting hundreds of people into work every day.
This shouldn’t be limited to over 18s. So, together with local authorities and charities, we are changing that to ensure that every single young person gets the help they need so they can benefit from the economic security of a regular pay packet.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who announced the pilots in May, said:
As we continue to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, one of my key priorities in government is to make sure that all young people can take advantage of increasing job opportunities.
The expansion of these pilots provides 16 and 17 year olds who need extra help with advice and expertise from Jobcentre Plus staff. I look forward to seeing this scheme rolled out across the country in the future.
The new plan will offer under-18s a single point of contact for help and see Jobcentres join forces with local authorities, employers, charities and local community organisations to provide access to all the best opportunities for young people.
Every young person is different, so the support they receive will be uniquely tailored to them. Jobcentre work coaches have a huge amount of expertise and have seen great success supporting over-18s into work.
Work coaches could help under-18s to find work experience, a work taster course, pre-apprenticeship support or meetings with employers to help them decide which direction they want to take with their career.
They could also help with employability and work preparation, training that focuses on career aspirations and team building. If needed, they’ll also work with organisations like the Prince’s Trust and other providers to ensure young people can get valuable skills and experience.
The number of unemployed young people fell by 253,000 in the last year, in the biggest annual fall on record. Youth unemployment, excluding those who have left full-time education, is now at its lowest level since 2008.
The Deputy Prime Minister announced this pilot in a speech in February
Currently, in rare circumstances some disadvantaged 16-17 year olds who are claiming benefits are helped by Jobcentre Plus. This pilot is for 16 to 17 year old NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) who are not claiming benefits. Participation on the pilot will be completely voluntary.
The pilot will run for up to 18 months.
NEET figures released in August showed that 96% of 16-17 year olds are participating in employment, education and training, close to the highest comparable participation rate since consistent records began in 2001.
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