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Yet another new work experience scheme ...

Chris Grayling and London Mayor Boris Johnson have launched a joint project aimed at 18-24 year olds JSA claimants who have completed less than six months work since leaving full time education.

The ESF funded pilot programme ;will see eligible claimants referred on the day they first make a claim for JSA. Within 48 hours they will be participating in a mandatory work placement for 13 weeks, consisting of 30 hours of work experience plus 10 hours of jobsearch support each week. If they refuse to participate (without good cause) their claim will be discontinued and they will not receive benefits.

The scheme is being sold as a programme to help young Londoners improve their career prospects and contribute to their communities. The cynical amongst you may view this as a programme to dissuade young people from claiming JSA, particularly single people still living at home with their parents and not claiming any additional benefits, and you may be right.  This group may be in a position to take up part time work in the retail or leisure sectors that would give them an income similar to JSA.  This scheme may be the push they need to do so.  Chris Grayling is making no secret of the fact that he expects people to pay into the system before taking out of it, hence the target group for this project.

Placements will be carried out in a wide range of sectors including charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations, and are expressly required to deliver clear benefits to the communities in which people taking part live.  Unfortunately there is a lot of cynicism when it comes to the type of placements that have been delivered under this remit in the past, so care is needed that providers are held to this remit 100%.

Providers in 16 boroughs are currently bidding for the contracts which will see delivery commence later this year.  The boroughs are: Croydon, Westminster, Barnet, Haringey, Enfield, Islington, Greenwich, Lewisham, Kensington & Chelsea, Bexley, Bromley, Sutton, Merton, Southwark, Lambeth and Camden.

28 August 2012

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