'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 70.

    One would like to think that this "scheme" may have positive benefits for the jobless. However, I'm sceptical about the scheme particularly in the light of recent events e.g. the Tesco debacle. We all know "Every little helps" & we also know who it helps most. 8 weeks free labour? That'll do nicely, now I understand the enthusiasm for the Dickens bi-centennial. Bring on the chimney sweeps!

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Ed Balls... what a plonker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Quote " 60. iwantaprs
    any scheme which has the potential to get people off benefits and into work is worth a shot, those of you who scoff at such schemes need a reality check. " End Quote

    16-18yr olds do not get benefits, so how do they afford to actually go to work at all?
    If I was that age and not getting benefits I wouldn't even sign on, what's the point, and it would cost me to go!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    There's only one answer: go get yourself the maximum experience, get a job, any job, and work hard. I did. Seize every opportunity and don't be a lazy sod expecting others to work for you. I did all this and I've never been unemployed in my life. I've worked for 35 years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    37 writingon the wall,

    Not backward in thinking, just not interested in those who are feckless, lazy or thick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    The tories did this in the 80s, it didnt work then either. Its just a way to massage the unemployment figures. If they were really serious about reducing youth unemployment then making a company employ a % ratio of young people per workforce and making the work at a rate that was liveable, all the time, not just in a recession might make all the difference to youth respect, confidence and ability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    The problem with this type of scheme is that it becomes a 'bums on seats' exercise for the likes of A4E, BTCV, etc, etc. Of course, they'll tell you that it's all about one-to-one provision, blah, blah, blah! There's alot of money to be made from the unemployed!

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    As with the earlier schemes of this type, there's nothing wrong with them if, and it is a big if, there are real jobs at the end. Unfortunately, they often end up teaching nothing and with no job outcomes.

    It is also, in part at least, a sad indictment of the education system that there are so many young people leaving school who are basically unemployable and without basic life/job skills.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.


    I agree with you 100%. That's one of the best posts I have ever seen on HYS.

    I'm currently at univeristy and when I graduate I'll most probably (unfortunatly) be joining a dole que. But I expect to be able to find work through my own effort with as little help from the state as possible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    There have been so many 'schemes' I'm sure politicians and civil servants have absolutely no idea how they operate from the last to the next.

    As grant money by government is withdrawn from charities for young people, it's basically being replaced to fund the same charities under a different 'initiative' by Nick Clegg. The same money goes round and round and manipulated for political dogma. Sigh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    any scheme which has the potential to get people off benefits and into work is worth a shot, those of you who scoff at such schemes need a reality check.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    "Iain Duncan Smith has branded critics of the govt's separate work experience scheme for young jobseekers as "job snobs". It offers unpaid work placements in stores such as Tesco and Maplin to 18 to 24-year-olds who've been unemployed for more than 3 months." people criticised his "work for free with no job guarantee!" scheme so he tries to claim they criticised the workers. typical lying tories

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    I am a small business owner. I have worked with many Apprentices and have offered F/T posts to the right people at the end of their training: those who show a desire to learn and work. My experience tells me Neet are unemployable. Period. Due to poor parenting, lack of motivation & poor education. I do not believe the education system is always the culprit: some just don't want to learn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    I would like to know how they are going to select these youngsters for this scheme and what happens if they either choose not to take part, or leave during the year, do the organisations still get their money. Also, what is meant by"work" and "training". It doesn`t appear that the kids will be paid for work with the organisations, does that mean these organisations get an unpaid trainee for a year

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Treating everybody the same has left a large number of our young people totally disenchanted with life and not equipped with the right skills for the job market. Labour seems not to be embarrassed for one minute about the magnitude of the problems resulting from their years of social engineering. Their negative, half glass empty attitude about anything and everything is becoming very boring.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    I would like to know why it is always the kids who messed up at school by poor behaviour, no manners and total lack of respect continue to get help ? What about all the hard working children with decent grades who tried there best and still struggling for work and apprenticeships ? Where are there rewards ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    £2,200? Perhaps Mr Clegg is thinking the kids can top up the fee's in future years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    "46.Some Lingering Fog

    Do 16 and 17 years olds get paid benefits?"

    In some cases, based on an individuals particular circumstances. I guess someone aged 16 and leaving council care would be an example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Pay for the young to get jobs.What about the over 60yrs, I was made redundant in March 11,Have applied for hundreds of jobs nothing,I was told I was over qualified, queried how old I was & never heard anymnore Ill thought solution for this governments errors.Let us collect our pension NOW then more jobs would be available for the young.Can't get benefit husbands wks,but I need to wk to pay bills

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Im absolutely staggered at the rank hypocracy and dangerous attitudes of those who want the young to work but dont want them to have anywhere to live. Houses anybody. Also the protestant ethic of a fair days work for a fairs days pay should be applied and its good to see Tesco now doing this. Education is GOOD and we attack it at our national peril. I still say skills training is the best way.


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