Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan has welcomed a new initiative from the Department of Work and Pensions to assist young people in Wales into work experience placements to boost their confidence and employability.
The new scheme unveiled by Employment Minister Chris Grayling today (Monday, 24 January) will match unemployed young people, aged between 18 and 21, with employers to undertake work experience for up to eight weeks.
Mrs Gillan said: “Work experience boosts the confidence and employability of young job seekers. In today’s highly-competitive Welsh jobs market, young applicants who are able demonstrate work experience have a better chance of securing permanent employment.
“On my visit to Flintshire last week I met with students and apprentices who were benefitted from the training links between Toyota and Deeside College. I also met with private sector employers at Shotton JobCentre Plus who are providing work experience, skills support and creating employment opportunities for the local workforce.
“In Wales, there are almost half a million people considered Economically Inactive and as many as one in five children are growing up in families where neither parent works. Without skills, confidence and positive role models, these young people will remain trapped in a cycle of benefits culture that will blight Wales for generations to come.
“The coalition Government is committed to working in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government to equip jobseekers with the skills and aptitude required to re-enter the workplace. It is imperative that we create opportunities for young people all over Wales to build up their CVs and develop new skills and experiences in the workplace and to prove to those families dependant on benefits that work really pays.”
Under the new initiative, young people will be allowed to do work experience for up to eight weeks so they can get a proper stint in a business, gaining valuable experience, getting a decent entry on their CV and providing real value to the employer. Under the old system people were only allowed to do two weeks experience. If they tried to do more they could face a loss of benefits. Young jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 will be matched by Jobcentre Plus with employers looking for people to do work experience. Specialist staff in Jobcentre Plus will work with businesses to seek out the best work experience opportunities.