Jobcentre Plus to advise young people from age of 15, pledges IDS

Jobcentre Plus will provide careers advice to learners as young as 15, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced.

He revealed plans for Jobcentre staff to work with schools for the first time during his speech to the Conservative Party conference today.

He said the changes would mean that, for the first time, 15 to 21-year-olds would have “a single package of help” to stop them falling into unemployment.

It comes after Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to remove benefits from young people aged 18 to 21 who failed to find a job within six months of becoming unemployed, with the money saved used to fund a million new apprenticeships.

And today Mr Duncan Smith announced the policy would go further as he unveiled plans to force 18 to 21-year-olds who do not find work into apprenticeships, traineeships or community work, for which they would be paid an allowance.

He said: “Yesterday, we announced an ambitious package to end the fate of 18 to 21-year-olds languishing on unemployment benefits.

“Those who have not found a job within six months will be put onto an apprenticeship, a traineeship or community work – for which they will receive an allowance.

“This is a huge increase in our determination to set young people on the right path. And we want to go further still.

“Today, I can announce my intention for Jobcentre Plus coaches in my department to work with young people in schools across the country, for the first time, from as early as 15, targeting those most at risk of falling out of education, employment or training, working with them before them they end up with a terrible wage scar, as happened too often in the past.

“For the first time, 15 to 21-year-olds will have a single package of help, support and assistance that will radically improve the hope and aspirations of a generation that the last government left behind.”