'Pay-per-Neet' scheme aims to help teenagers find work


Nick Clegg: Youth jobs situation "a real crisis"

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Firms and charities are to be invited to bid for a payment-by-results scheme to try to get "Neet" teenagers into work or training, in a project launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The £126m scheme is aimed at 55,000 teenagers in England with poor qualifications who are currently not in education, employment or training.

Mr Clegg says it will help youngsters "into the world of work".

But Labour says the project is "too small and much too late".

Chris Keates, leader of the Nasuwt teachers' union, accused Mr Clegg of being responsible for an increase in Neets by scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance.

'Ticking time bomb'

Mr Clegg described the problem of rising youth unemployment as a "ticking time bomb".

"Sitting at home with nothing to do when you're so young can knock the stuffing out of you for years," he said.

"We urgently need to step up efforts to ensure some of our most troubled teenagers have the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed.

"Many of them will have complex problems: truancy, teenage pregnancy, a lack of GCSEs and health problems."

Mr Clegg said to see teenagers who have left school with no qualifications "slumped on the sofa in front of the telly is not only tragic for them... but it stores up huge problems for the future if we don't help them now".

He said it was also about getting "crucial early years in a child's life at school right" to "save on so much heartache later".

Start Quote

The government needs to bite the bullet and put in place a sensible tax on bankers' bonuses in the next budget to help get 100,000 young people back to work”

End Quote Liam Byrne Shadow work and pensions secretary

"If you start early it then allows children to start their school career with a sense of enthusiasm for learning," he said.

The scheme, part of the Youth Contract announced in the autumn, will invite bids for contracts worth up to £2,200 for each teenager who can be sustained in work, education or training for 12 months.

The target group will be 16- to 17-year-olds without any GCSEs at C grade or above.

The aim is for long-term savings from an early intervention.

Almost one in five young people aged between 16 and 24 are classified as Neet - with the most recent figure standing at 1,163,000.

This response from the government is aimed at teenagers at the lower end of this age range who are already at risk of "disengagement" from the world of work.

The organisations that win these contracts will have a free hand to decide their approach - with the emphasis on rewarding a successful outcome.

Payments will be staggered, so that the full amount will be paid only to contractors when young people have remained in work or training for a year.

The funding will reflect the highest level of Neet youngsters in this age group - with £14m available in the West Midlands, where 11.5% of 16- to 17-year-olds are in this category.

The project has been challenged by the ATL teachers' union, which accused the government of damaging the chances of teenagers "by dismantling the careers and advice service and abolishing the education maintenance allowance".

"We have deep misgivings that getting charities and businesses to provide support for unemployed youngsters outside the education system will undermine the likelihood of success," said ATL officer Adrian Prandle.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne also said the Youth Contract would not help most young unemployed people.

Mr Byrne said of Mr Clegg: "He promised big answers to the problem of youth unemployment yet what we have got today is something that won't help 95% of Britain's young unemployed.

"This is much too small and much too late to tackle a problem that is likely to cost our country £28bn over the next 10 years.

"The government needs to bite the bullet and put in place a sensible tax on bankers' bonuses in the next budget to help get 100,000 young people back to work."

'Job snobs'

Meanwhile, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has branded critics of the government's separate work experience scheme for young jobseekers as "job snobs".

The scheme offers unpaid work placements in stores such as Tesco and Maplin to 18- to 24-year-olds who have been unemployed for more than three months.

Mr Duncan Smith said in the Daily Mail: "The implicit message behind these attacks is that jobs in retail, such as those with supermarkets or on the High Street, are not real jobs that worthwhile people do.

"How insulting and demeaning of the many thousands of people who already work in such jobs up and down the country.

"I doubt I'm the only person who thinks supermarket shelf-stackers add more value to our society than many of those 'job snobs' who are pontificating about the government's employment policies."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Trust the Tories to make sure their friends can even make a profit out of unemployment. Firms will be paid to find jobs or training for unemployed young people. They won't employ the young people and they won't bother what they do as long as they qualify for the payment. What qualifications and training will the contractors have? Nobody knows. What chance Neets find real jobs? Little or none.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    My advice to any young person that is just working out that the state really doesn't give a damn about them is this:

    1. They were wrong,you are right.

    2. They will be no better in the future so don't expect them to be.

    3. You now have just 70 more years if you are lucky.

    4. You decide what you will do. No one else. Your first choice isn't usually the last.

    5. Make yourself proud of you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    We need more vacancies. We should:

    Lower the retirement age.
    Restore work-life balance and push back on this incessant managers agenda to get one person doing two peoples' jobs.
    Create a culture similar to 25 years ago where it is ok for a mother to stop work and do the most important job in the world - raise her own kids rather than use surrogate mothers and minders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Barclays bosses are sharing out a bonus pot of £2.5 billion. That puts this £126 million into perspective.

    The gap between the haves and have nots is becoming wider and wider. This is just a gimmick so that DC can brag about it at prime ministers questions it's nothing more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    11. SollyAtwell

    Why not let people retire earlier and free up the jobs for young people instead of making them work till they drop?
    The savings on benefits payments can go towards pensions


    Do 16 and 17 years olds get paid benefits?

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    This is slave labour and is an insult to the unemployed of this country, despite the "Claims of a few who got a job" the fact remains that if the Person Refuse the "Placement" they lose there benefits, it is not volunteering it is press ganging by the Government.

    My Son in law was forced to work i sorting and cleaning Glass bottles using open tanks of caustic solution and with NO Protection.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I have worked in low paid jobs I have hated because I have financial responsibilities.
    If people do not already have motivation to work anywhere that will take them then something has to be done to motivate them.
    This scheme is as good as any other in those circumstances.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    It could be suggested that those who stock shelves at supermarkets are doing a real job and one that makes a significant contribution. Pity the same can't be said for Clegg. A total waste of tax-payers money, who obviously had the stuffing knocked out of him as a kid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    @29. Bibi Personally, I'd like to see income tax quadrupled for anyone who has ever used the term *these people*.
    It's the permissive short sighted bleeding-heart types like you that are to blame for *these people*!

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    When I graduated in the mid-90s, I did a four months work placement for an extra £10 per week on my JSA. The company took me on and I spent the next eight years there, working my way up the ladder. It's far better to be proactive than to sit looking at the same jobs on the same websites and in the same newspapers, day in, day out. The best person to help you is yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    @29. Bibi

    And your suggestion in terms of the actual point being discussed here is?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    My view is that kids who fail at school will probably fail in the workplace as well. There were pleanty of them in my year at school; kids who put no effort in, either because they didn't want to, couldn't be bothered or because their parents told them to. If we succeed in removing this mentality from the minds of our young problem, we've solved a lot of problems for future generations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    @11. SollyAtwell,

    I totally agree, if people retired younger there would be jobs for younger people. I'm 26 I have a PhD and have applied to every sort of job you can imagine without any success. I feel I am having my retirement at the beginning of my life, but without the pension, as I'm not allowed any benefits because I saved my money rather than wasting it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.


    Why are you so backward you think jobs are finite? I hope you are unemployed or you are occupying a job someone with brains could be doing


    there's nothing like cutting off members of society - eh? Did you not pay attention to the riots? Did you swallow the pathetic reasoning of the Government as to the 'causes'?

    Britain is backward if you 2 are any example

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    8 years ago I was given state funded training to help me get an HGV licence as there was a national shortage of drivers at the time.
    After truck driving for 7 years I have now been unemployed for about a year because the market is flooded with economic migrants from the EU and employment agencies.
    The youth will fare no better I'm afraid, you'll get a day here and a day there, experienced or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    IDS obviously doesn't get it - the concern about his scheme was that these were jobs that need doing to generate private profit were on offer and the supposed guaranteed interviews not - i.e. danger of serial intern syndrome where an endless stream of unpaid unemployed replaced a paid job normally generating that profit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Slavery by big business? How can young people have any future if this is all the Con/libdems can do to help??Them??? This only helps big business when they time is up they will just get more free workers to take they place and the so called trained workers go back on jobseekers I .D.S. is clueless a chinless wonder ,and mr clegg is worst. it was called job creation it did not work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    So the government is saying "We urgently need to step up efforts to ensure some of our most troubled teenagers have the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed".
    So we're going to pour more money into educating and training people who have already had 11 years of education and achieved nothing by giving them jobs which could have gone to people who already have the skills but no job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I was in the same position in the early 90's, young and looking for a job

    I remember the same old rubbish pumped out about "there are jobs out there - you just need to look" - like the uncaring adults do now

    Sadly there are jobs out there - but not enough to pay your rent. I finally got work when the recession ended

    Youth of today have it harder as this is a DEPRESSION not just a mere recession

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Are any government departments being encouraged to take on young people? Are we putting taxpayer money directly into the hands of profit making companies again - and providing them with free labour? Hepmaboab, looks like it.


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