Benefits and Work Experience for Unemployed

Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced today that jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 who wish to partake in job-related work experience will be permitted to do so for eight weeks while continuing to receive unemployment benefits. The current limit is two weeks.

It is a move that may be viewed as a reply to Labour claims that the coalition has abandoned young people by slashing the Education Maintenance Allowance, raising university tuition fees and ending the Future Jobs Fund.  However, accompanying the announcement, shocking figures were released showing that 260,000 young people are growing up in homes where no one has ever worked.  Further figures show that there are 600,000 young people who have never worked since leaving school or college.

In an effort to tackle the problems represented by these statistics, Grayling stated that the new scheme will give young people the chance to get valuable experience in a business for up to two months, which will make a real difference to their confidence, their employability and their prospects.

Under the new scheme those aged between 18 and 21 will be matched by Jobcentre Plus with employers looking for people to do work experience.  Leading employers backing the work experience extension include Homebase, Hilton Hotels, McDonalds, ISS Facilities Management, Chums, De Vere Hotels and Carillion.

Clearly the opportunity to gain work experience with such firms will greatly enhance any candidate core employability skills and to this end the changes represent a good start from the Government in terms of supporting work experience prospects.  However, it seems that said opportunities will be relatively limited to those within the specific age bracket who have not pursued higher education.  We would like to see the scheme extended to graduates who suffer from similar problems when it comes to gaining that all important work experience in order to kick start a career.  We tend to find that job centres are not geared towards dealing with graduates specific situation of having received three years of higher education but perhaps lacking certain work place skills employers seek.  In this case we feel that an internship is the perfect solution, giving graduates the opportunity to develop skills, increase employability and create a career.