'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 110.

    Dear governent, here are a couple of free ideas for you
    1. Impose a tax on cheap rubbish imported from China.
    2. Impose a tax on indian call centers
    The tax should be high enough to force companies use british work force instead. This two easy steps will dramatically decreasy unemployment let alone frustration cased by indian phone customer support

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    It's not the Govt's job to invent non-jobs to keep feckless youth off the streets. When I hear idiots say 'the government should create jobs' I always say 'Labour were in power the first two years of this slump & created it, so what did THEY do?' A fraction of what this govt is doing. Time for Ed Balls to hang his head in shame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Isn't the correct term for work without pay "slavery"?"

    Yes, but it's spelled 'intern' these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    @62 'Adam'.
    When at university, for the majority, you work as well. That's life. Most university courses are about study, but also about growing up too - not about complaining about life even before graduation?

    Expectations rarely meet reality 'Adam' - perhaps our global media is responsible for that? In the meantime, students at uni or in training work hard and we should give them credit?

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    83. Sons Of Albion

    Give it a nice name and a logo but working for no pay is slavery.


    Give it a nice name and a logo but doing nothing for benefits is charity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Isn't the correct term for work without pay "slavery"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Yes indeed I am sure working Nights shelf stacking at a Supermarket for no more than the recipient would have received for staying at home asleep will install the appropriate work ethic!

    Possibly paying someone properly to work might have a slightly better effect?

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    From the start conservatives have been opposed to the minimum wage. It seems that they have now found a way round the problem and are working towards no wages at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    @ 21, As someone said earlier.. that is madness. I'm curious to the selection process though. Not all those youths out of work, want to find work. No matter how hard you assume they want it. Some just dont. Plus, this scheme has some gaps to fill in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I've lived and worked tolerating both red an blue politicians telling me they have won an election.

    No offence to hairdressers,but even they have been more useful to me earning money than any politician.

    If anyboy relies on politicians to give them a decent stab at life,they need to seriously reevaluate.

  • Comment number 100.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Instead of gimmicky headlines and cheap job scams, the government needs to look at creating real jobs that allow those that work an income to meet their housing and living costs. 5,000 new "jobs" at Asda does not equate to 5,000 full time jobs paying a living wage. As usual the Tories are ducking the real issue and lining the pockets of their friends at the expense of unemployed youth, typical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    On a local phone in show a young caller complained that 'the boring kids' got all the best jobs. He went on to say how had been expelled for 'having a laugh' and wore his 'tracky' to interviews (and that employers should be impressed because it cost more than a suit). I thought it was a winf up bit it became apparent he was being honest.

    What intervention could possibly help people like that?

  • Comment number 97.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Is it time to re-run spitting image ? I think it is

    I remember a 'Not the 9 o'clock news' sketch in which and office was staffed by young people on job creation.

    Hat stand chair In-tray pencil sharpener get the picture

    big problems need big solutions bot these powder puffs

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    I am a employer in Merseyside and have six Government NVQ students, far from being exploited we feel the standard of experience the trainees get is positive, learning in a work enviroment is the best grounding for youngsters, the current climate will push more youngsters into self employment and learning in the workplace is the best thing, there should be more incentive for employers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    I see that between the government and one of the main users of Workfare, our local supermarket, they have put their heads together and come up with a job to inspire the young into a full and productive life that would surely help any teenager out of bed in the morning. This awesome easy to master job, requires relatively little safety training. Opening and closing the doors to the tobacco shelves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    I also remember the YTS (Youth Training Scheme) it made a lot of course providers & liaison people quite a pile but success in terms of the young being placed in long term employment? Like trying to find rocking horse droppings. This was in the 80s & there have been many similar quango schemes since. Is suppose it means they won't be smoking dope, playing war games, updating profiles, killing ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    My son could not find work. He ended up finding a Company who get him to work 3 days a week study 2 and he will be a qualified Surveyor and a member of the RICS in two years. They paid for the course and all his fares. This is forward thinking of the firm and my son. Yes he sometimes sees his peers earning money and frets. He however realises the £38k package at the end is worth working for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Saying that if the older generation retired then it would free up jobs is ignoring the fact that many of these people need to work in order to pay their bills. And that situation is only going to get much worse over the coming decades as we get older. Savings and pensions are beyond many people's budgets given the high cost of living these days.


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