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.”

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  1. Andrea Malyon

    The single package of help was in place up until 3 years ago in the form of the Connexions service which was run by qualified careers guidance professionals. Removing benefits from 18-21 year olds who haven’t managed to secure a job after 6 months is ludicrous. The benefits they receive are not enough to live on and the minimum wage does not cover basic living expenses, the thought of languishing on £57.00 per week is laughable. This is fine if the young people live in a supported home where family will fund them.
    Should young people “be put in to” an apprenticeship, what does this say to everyone outside about the quality and status of an apprenticeship? Hardly a positive marketing move for a prestigious alternative to university.
    I do hope that your Job Centre Plus coaches have a little more training offered to them than their current “any degree and an induction” which of course was gained due to their advantageous position in society. These coaches, who really do their best, have no idea about job seeking without support from family and friends and the actual cost of going to work or training.
    This is not the first time 15-21 year olds have been offered a single package of support, Connexions offered such impartial advice, addressed many of the barriers preventing young people moving in to work or training and supported them until they were settled. Will the Job Centre Plus coaches be able to offer the same or will it be do as I say or you will lose your benefit?

  2. Mike Motley

    “Those who have not found a job within six months will be put onto an apprenticeship” – IDS

    I thought apprenticeships were employed status and individuals had to apply and employers select??

  3. david kaandi

    IDS – Irritable Duncan Syndrome, very similar to IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome…. there is no known cure, but manageable through treatment – DON’T VOTE CONSERVATIVES

  4. Karen Johnson

    Unbelievable! This is what Connexions did – all fully qualified careers professionals until THIS government decided to scrap Connexions and decimate careers advice and guidance for young people – and now it’s whingeing on about NEET Young People! Does IDS think he’s come up with something entirely new because he certainly has not – all idiots, all out of touch! And how do Jobcentre staff suddenley have time to do this?!

  5. Job Centre Plus staff without additional support and training to work with this age group will struggle. On going support from a known person prior to making decisions at 16 or 18 is essential. Are they going into schools? Will they have the necessary clearance? Do they have the knowledge a understanding of the diverse pathways that can be taken by young people. I think not, this comes with experience and knowledge not just a sticking plaster job!

  6. Sylvia Walker

    Do they never learn? This initiative is generated by a punitive mean- spirited mindset: a cheap alternative to professional career guidance which is based on personal development and choice.Employers will not welcome having reluctant teenagers ‘thrust upon them’. It’s not as if we don’t know what good practice looks like but the government has chosen to ignore the work done on quality assurance by Careers England. Why?