Government details radical plans to end long-term youth unemployment and decades of welfare dependency

Matt Hancock: Every young person should be earning or learning from April 2017

Matt Hancock, Paymaster General, today pledged that the cross-government Earn or Learn Taskforce he chairs will create a ‘no excuses’ culture to support youth employment. A new 3-week programme will put young jobseekers through their paces and give them an unprecedented level of support to make sure they are well equipped to find work or training within 6 months.

Measures the Taskforce will implement will include:

  • a new ‘boot camp’ to get claimants work-ready within 6 months
  • young claimants must take a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or unpaid work experience or lose benefits
  • under-21s will no longer receive housing support
  • 3 million more apprenticeships to be created by 2020
  • changes to youth benefits come into force in April 2017

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Paymaster General Matt Hancock said:

We are determined to fulfil our commitments to end the welfare culture that is embedded in some of Britain’s most vulnerable communities. By working across government to make sure that every young person is in work or training, by opening up 3 million more apprenticeships, expanding traineeships, and making sure that a life on benefits is simply not an option, we want to end rolling welfare dependency for good, so welfare dependency is no longer passed down the generations.

We are absolutely committed to ending long-term youth unemployment and building a country for workers, where nobody is defined by birth and everyone can achieve their potential.

Within the first 3 weeks of claiming out-of-work benefit jobseekers will take up an Intensive Activity Programme (IAP) to help their move off benefits and into sustainable employment.

The intensive curriculum includes practising job applications and interview techniques as well as extensive job search, and is expected to take 71 hours over the first 3 weeks of the claim. A dedicated work coach will work with jobseekers and continuously review what was achieved during the initial 3-week work course.

Halfway through a generation-changing programme of welfare reform, government has already made significant progress with around 85% of all 16- to 24-year-olds either in work or in full-time education. But there is more to do and these new rules and additional support will help young people move and stay in meaningful work. More than 80% of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants said they would be more likely to follow the rules if they knew that their benefits were going to be reduced or stopped.

The government has also set in motion plans to create 3 million apprenticeships during this parliament, giving them the same legal status as degrees and giving hope and opportunities to more young people than ever before.

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