Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Thursday, 01 March 2012 16:18

Rule change on work experience

Written by  Jonathan Lord
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Right To Work Campaign Right To Work Campaign
Ministers have yielded to pressure from businesses involved in the work experience scheme. They lobbied the government to change the rules after being accused by critics of using the unemployed as "slave labour".

In future, 16 to 24-year-olds who pull out of their work experience placements after a week will only have their benefits taken away for gross misconduct, such as stealing and racist abuse.

Currently, young people can leave the voluntary scheme within a week without having their benefits docked. If they do so after a week, they risk losing those benefits.

The "slave labour" accusations have led some major companies to reconsider their involvement in the scheme, but David Cameron told the Commons that 200 small and medium-sized businesses had recently expressed an interest in joining up.

The Department of Work and Pensions said Airbus, Center Parcs and HP Enterprise Services had also agreed to become involved.

The prime minister told MPs: "The whole country wants to see more young people given the opportunity that work experience provides, and the good news is that since this row has been going on in the pages of our newspapers, we've actually had expressions of interest from 200 small and medium-sized employers who want to get involved in this programme."

Mr Cameron criticised critics of the scheme, saying it was time to "stand up against the Trotskyites of the Right to Work campaign".

According to Downing Street, of the 34,000 people who have taken part since it was launched in August 2011, only 220 have been sanctioned, most for misconduct.

The prime minister's spokesman said that half of those involved had found a job within 11 weeks of their first placement. He pointed out that in the past people lost their benefits if they were involved in work experience.

Jonathan Lord

Jonathan Lord

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