Press release

'We need all our young people to be working and contributing' say Mayor and Employment Minister

New project to help young Londoners improve their career prospects through vital work experience and jobs advice.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Employment Minister Chris Grayling and London Mayor Boris Johnson today launched a new project to help young Londoners improve their career prospects through vital work experience and jobs advice.

Whilst young Londoners’ performance at school is above average, it is clear that they can struggle to compete in the job market. Under this pilot scheme, young people who have not previously completed six months of paid employment must undertake valuable work experience so they can claim benefits. This enables them to contribute to their communities in line with the Government’s aim to ensure a wider social contribution.

The initiative is a joint pilot between the Mayor and the Department for Work and Pensions. The move ties in directly with the Mayor’s pledge to help create 200,000 jobs over the next four years and the Department for Work and Pensions’ focus on back to work schemes.

The pilot will start by helping around 6,000 Londoners who make a new Jobseeker’s Allowance claim with little or no work history with 30 hours of work experience a week for a 13-week period. Placements will be carried out in a wide range of sectors including charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations. All placements are expressly required to deliver clear benefits to the communities in which people taking part in the project live.

Placements, contracted out to providers, will include a targeted package of support, such as CV writing and interview skills, to help people boost their employability in an increasingly competitive jobs market. The trial will be contracted in the next few weeks and will start later this year.

Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, said: ”Many other countries don’t allow young people to claim any benefits at all until they have made contributions through a job. This trial will give a clear idea of the impact of an approach that says, effectively, you can’t get something back until you have put something in.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It’s no secret that work experience can be the key that opens the door to a successful career and more young Londoners need to be given the opportunity to do it. Right now it’s a tough labour market out there and we have to ensure that all young people get the skills they need to succeed and for which employers are crying out.

“Early intervention will reduce the risks of benefit dependency and increase the chances of long-term employment that is good for young people and good for the economic growth of this great city. As we continue to grapple with tough economic times there has never been a more pressing need to help young Londoners into work, which is exactly what this project is designed to achieve.”

The trial has been funded by the European Social Fund.

Notes to editors

  1. Day 1 Support will be offered at Jobcentre Plus in sixteen London boroughs from Autumn 2012. Boroughs covered are: Croydon, Westminster, Barnet, Haringey, Enfield, Islington, Greenwich, Lewisham, Kensington & Chelsea, Bexley, Bromley, Sutton, Merton, Southwark, Lambeth and Camden.
  2. The trial will focus on new 18-24 year old income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants where the young person has done less than six months work since leaving full time education. Delivered by contracted providers, placements will be for 30 hours a week, last for 13 weeks and provide benefit to the local community.
  3. Participation in the trial will give young people the experience they need of work, help to strengthen their CVs and enable them to compete more effectively in the jobs market. As a result, young people will be better equipped for a life away from benefits dependency.
  4. One of the key objectives of the trial is to support claimants into employment and that is why we have built in the additional provider-led job search support element. Providers will spend 10 hours a week working with claimants offering them support in their search for work.
  5. Referral to the trial will take place as soon as someone signs on for Jobseeker’s Allowance. If they do not participate without good reason, that claim will be discontinued and they will not receive benefits.

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Published 28 August 2012