'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 130.


    "The idiot who defined work experience as slavery should be sent to the back of the dole queue."
    Along with the person (you) who wrote:
    "In Germany you can't leave school without the Arbitur - equal to A Levels /US High School Diploma."
    Google 'Arbitur' to find out why this is complete hogswash!
    Factchecker you ain't!

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    What happened to minimum pay?
    And how about us late 50 something’s?
    They don’t want us to work because we don’t bring down the jobseekers allowance because so few of us are entitled.
    If this government wants to get the economy growing it needs to pay an honest days pay for an honest days work.
    Jobseekers allowance plus expenses is not going to put money through the tills of this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    I do hope the BBC will take up the challenge to provide jobless teens with work. There are a lot of talented young people out there who could, if given a chance, make a significant impact in the media. Just think, the nation's major media source filled with talent rather than recommended worthies from their University's branch of the Socialist Worker Party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    To place 55ooo in work i take it there are 55000 jobs out there as they are not going to be created if so why are we paying all these millions when we have a Government paid for Jobscentre already what are they getting paid to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    All I keep doing is replaying 00:29 - 00:31 of the Clegg video. Easy satire material.


  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    50 years ago when Universities did not teach the number of subjects they now do, many aspiring professionals had to learn on the job by gaining articles (pupillage) in offices; studying at night. Not only were they often not paid, families had to pay the offices for what was seen as the privilege of a training - very much cheaper than Uni fees. Non payment whilst training is not a new idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Err, is it me but where are these jobs suddenly being found?

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    So, then, working next to someone who gets a proper salary, paid leave, staff discount possibly sick pay. I'm getting what, JSA? Oh, I'm well motivated to work as hard as the next guy. Oh, no, actually, I'm not, I'm being robbed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    113. Galileo2011

    At one time young people got training and apprenticeships, they could get grants to go to university and didn't have to pay tuition fees, and they could get a job and look forward to settling down and having a family.


    Then along came Tony Blair's New Labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    What annoys me is that I left school during the Thatcher years, when jobs were incredibly thin on the ground and I struggled like everyone else to find employment.

    Now we have another Conservative government and this time, having been laid off, I fall into the 'ignore them' area of middle-aged unemployed.

    And people wonder why my generation is disillusioned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    The entire funding for this gimmick works out at less than £120 per head for those unemployed between the ages of 16 and 24.

    At the same time this government is making 750,000 people with jobs paying real wages, 70% of whom are women and 25% of whom are under 30, unemployed.

    We are al in it together!

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    PHILTRICH Far better that Ian Duncan Smith should go down to Tesco and stack shelves, his present job is way above his experience.

  • Comment number 118.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 117.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    The ability to generate a work ethic is extremely important, to motivate yourself to get out of the habit of doing nothing. To be able to get up, get dressed and go to work every day is a necessity if you want to be employed. AND it is much easier to get a job from a job, so basically anything will do. Take no notice of these left wing doom and gloomers, try and be positive - hard but necessary

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    How about we just stop paying footballers and the like £5395823905829058 a day, that would give the whole WORLD more money, which we could invest in something decent like creating jobs. They do nothing more than sleep about and create drama anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Ticking time bomb! Seriously Mr Clegg between this and other little sound bites such as transparency or left by the last government that you and your friends have been re-using over the last two years you really need to expand your vocabulary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    At one time young people got training and apprenticeships, they could get grants to go to university and didn't have to pay tuition fees, and they could get a job and look forward to settling down and having a family. Now they get eight weeks unpaid "work experience" stacking shelves at Tesco, thousands of pounds of debt, and long term unemployment. Who would want to be young now?

  • Comment number 112.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    It seems to me like a great way to get the unemployed used to working. It may just make them realise they do have abilities to carry out certain tasks. Lots on nonsense on here about Supermarkets. Firstly there is nothing wrong with working in them and secondly they happen to be one of the biggest UK employers.Some of these Kids will end up in their employ I am sure.


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