The Government's new Youth Contract: what do you think?

(164 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Nov-11 12:04:51


You may have seen/heard that Nick Clegg has announced today a £1billion Youth Contract to tackle youth unemployment.

The Youth Contract includes, among other things, subsidised work and training placements, and a programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17-year-olds get back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training. You can read more about it here.

The Cabinet Office has just been in touch with us at MNHQ to ask us what Mumsnetters think about these plans. So we've said we'll start a thread to find out.

Please do tell!

GypsyMoth Fri 25-Nov-11 12:10:23

I think it's great!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 25-Nov-11 12:22:56

From what I've heard, it sounds like a good start. 'Doing nothing' shouldn't an option for 16 - 18 year-olds. If they're not motivated or able to stay on at school they should have something constructive to do with their time. Found Liam Byrne's negative kneejerk reponse this morning a classic case of sour grapes.

Sevenfold Fri 25-Nov-11 12:26:39

well imo the work experience part of it is bad, young people will be working for nothing and business' will be the only one to gain from it.
they will also be forced to do this.
the apprenticeships are a good idea though as long as there are jobs after.

Merrylegs Fri 25-Nov-11 12:30:29

I think it's a good idea - in theory. But as with all good ideas, it's all about the delivery.

I would hate to see it go the way of, for eg Dave's 'One Big Summer' initiative which sounded great on paper - involve Year 11s in a programme of community volunteering and adventure camps for the summer after their GCSEs - sounds good? -

Except that the (here, tory) council forgot that by abolishing the Youth Service there would be no one to deliver the idea to the young people. So they drafted in private companies who didn't have the infrastucture or peer group experience to recruit. The result? A confusingly delivered and badly organized programme with no real value or direction.

Or how about this? I work in a library. Apparently we are looking for volunteers. Are we? Well, according to our county council website we are. But the volunteer co-ordinator isn't in post yet and the actual front-line staff have not been told of the procedures to recruit volunteers.

My point is that unless the businesses and training establishments where these placements are due to take place are thoroughly briefed, and unless there is clear follow-through support, the scheme will just end up frustrating everyone.

CalatalieSisters Fri 25-Nov-11 12:31:23

Still taking the announcement in, but it makes me wonder:

(1) How will young workers be protected from exploitation during a massive expansion of work experience schemes, which have already been shown to pressure unemployed people into taking on positions that private companies might otherwise need to fill at the going rate?

(2) Will working tax credits suffer to pay for this new scheme?

(3) Since asking mumsnetters what they think is absolutely clearly not going to gain any remotely representative distribution of opinion that might reasonably help the development of effective implementation of policy, is it part of the Cabinet Office's constitutional role to make online publicity initiatives to support govt PR? I can't help thinking that the timing of the new scheme is part of a panicky PR blitz in the run up to next week's strike, and in the face of dire, dire economic news.

Sevenfold Fri 25-Nov-11 12:45:19

also who is going to support these young people finically?
they will be working for nothing, but will they still get JS?
if not what,
the companies will be paid to have them, so they not only get free labour, but get paid for it as well?

so who will be paying the young people?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 25-Nov-11 12:53:31

The way I read the proposal is that the young person gets a minimum wage job and the employer gets a subsidy from HM Gov that covers about 1/2 the minimum wage. So the young people will effectively be paid 50/50 by the employer and the taxpayer. They have to stay in the job for at least six months for the employer to get the money, which is better than old job creation schemes where trainees could be in and out in a few weeks.

WibblyBibble Fri 25-Nov-11 14:33:09

I think it's an outrage that young people are left unemployed at the moment, but I think this is going about addressing that back-to-front. The problem is that employers have become insanely demanding about what they expect- basically they expect workers to come to them already fully trained and experienced in whatever job they have, but also prepared to work on insecure temp contracts and without rights for 6 months at least. It's the employers who need to be targetted, and told very firmly that is their duty to provide jobs and train people for those jobs, not the job of the state to supply them with exactly what they need or with huge subsidies. They need to start showing some gratitude for the UK having such low taxes and providing things like the NHS so they don't have to pay health insurance for employees like in some countries. They constantly whine yet they get an amazing deal here, in terms of having a skilled, motivated, literate workforce who don't get much in the way of rights and often take on work that they are overqualified for. Currently things are all stick and no carrot for workers, but all carrot and no stick for employers on the spurious basis that they'll all run off to Lithuania if we don't give them everything on a plate. I think the government needs to call their bluff, as it is really just bluff (employers need the training and low taxes of the UK, so they won't be off anywhere), and tell them they will be obliged to take on workers and provide jobs or face penalties.

Some ways this could happen without any major legal changes:
1. Instead of the current restrictions on recruiting outside the UK if a job has een advertised and no one 'suitable' has applied, employers should be obliged to train someone from the UK if no one 'suitable' has applied within a timescale. Only for things that require very long vocational training e.g. medicine, should they be able to recruit differently.
2. Employers should not be able to place so much weight on the discriminatory recruitment practice of interviews which allow them to exclude disabled and working class people by saying they 'aren't a good fit with the team' and suchlike- recruitment should be based on quaifications, not personality.
3. Increase business tax for employers who make redundancies, and impose penalties for this.
4. Cut max working week so more employees needed to cover it, also don't increase retirement age ffs- we don't need old people sat taking up jobs they don't need when young people could be in post, training.
5. Instead of getting private companies to take people on for this, provide this money to councils to take on young people while they still claim JSA/IS and give it half to the employee, half to the council, so that essential services can be provided with it. This creates stable employment which private sector work usually isn't, and benefits everyone. Clearly the money IS there if he's proposing to give it to business.

WibblyBibble Fri 25-Nov-11 14:41:00

Also if they're going to cut working tax credits to do this, it's completely ridiculous. So you're going to take money from badly-off single-parent families with teenagers to hand it to businesses to bribe them to take on the kids from that family for a work experience placement for 8 weeks with no guarantee of a job? How does that help anyone but the business? The employers need to be told that they have to provide at least a part time permanent job at the end of it. Also I'm worried this will lead employers to take on kids at the expense of adult workers e.g. myself, when I am unemployed despite having an MSc and most of a PhD. Really the fault for unemployment is entirely with employers for being unreasonable in what they expect, not the fault of past governments or of the unemployed, and it's ridiculous to think otherwise.

MrsChristmasDB Fri 25-Nov-11 14:57:05

The CO want to know what we think ? Ha ! If they really wanted to know they could plough through the unemployment threads already running to see what we all think. The scheme is nonsense and will not encourage young people into work, any more than it will incentivise employers to start apprenticeships.

While it seems like a worthwhile cause, it will be a fruitless project because there still has to be jobs at the end of the training/work programmes.

Have you heard Mr. Clegg's 'catchphrase' for the scheme ?

"Earn or learn". hmm


Good post.

MrsChristmasDB Fri 25-Nov-11 14:59:28

And another thing.

Whilst all the youngsters are being encouraged into apprenticeships for trades etc, what are they going to do about the already skilled tradespeople who are out of work ?

And the older workers, the over 40's and 50's ? What does the future hold for them ?

adamschic Fri 25-Nov-11 15:15:44

I think it's a good thing that they are doing something about the problem of youth unemployment. We had something similar in the 70's and it's what is needed to get young people into the work ethic of getting up and doing a full time job. Hopefully make youngster, who would otherwise be unemployable, employable with skills and training and not afraid of hard work.

Often once a young person is in situ the employer finds that they have a job for them afterall. I started my working life on a 6 months scheme and was offered a fulltime job with prospects.

cat64 Fri 25-Nov-11 15:18:26

Message withdrawn

dreamingofsun Fri 25-Nov-11 16:22:39

in theory it sounds a good idea - don't see how anyone could knock it, but wonder where the money is coming from. Also wonder how they can find money for this but have to charge people 9k a year to go to uni. Surely you can use the same arguments about 'you will earn more by doing it so you should pay for it by taking out a loan till you are 50?'

carernotasaint Fri 25-Nov-11 16:23:24

Fantastic post Wibbly. Agree 100%. If the Gov. really want to know what we think then theyve only got to look at the recent Workfare thread that Wibbly,Sevenfold and i contributed to on the Chat board.
A. Have they come up with this "Youth Contract" because they know damn well deep down that workfare has caused more unemployment. Or
B.Is this "Youth Contract" just going to be the new name for workfare to try and disguise it because the truth was exposed very recently.
The timing of this is very suspicious.

MrsChristmasDB Fri 25-Nov-11 16:24:33

Agree, carer.

Sevenfold Fri 25-Nov-11 16:27:04

they are just juggling numbers, these young people still won't have a job, but no doubt will be taken of the jobless figures, and the government will pretend they have solved the problem

Tianc Fri 25-Nov-11 16:49:45

Very very strong MN opinion about the Work Programme and workfare type aspects here: "WORKFARE" programmes. Does anyone have any experience of this ?

Serious concerns about
• impact on real jobs
• implementation that leaves indentured workers not covered by employment law
• implementation very heavily dependent on administrators' discretion, particularly wrt penalisation of anyone not completing a work programme (wtf, if I start a real job I might leave quickly for all sorts of good reasons)
• insufficient protection for anyone with disability or caring issues (against a background of increased govt refusal to acknowledge disability)
• lack of evidence of effectiveness, or even understanding of what the Work Programme is for

Sounds like an extremely expensive dog's dinner.

adamschic Fri 25-Nov-11 16:55:05

It's a better idea than them being idle with no prospects for the future.

carernotasaint Fri 25-Nov-11 17:06:00

Apparently Nick Clegg was interviewed on Radio 4 and 5 by John Humphreys and Nicky Campbell respectively. Neither interviewer linked it with workfare.
A. Was that because they wernt competent enough to see it? Or
B. Because the BBC is too frightened that the Government may withdraw their cash cow (the T.V. licence) if they are seen to disagree with them in any way?!!

Tianc Fri 25-Nov-11 17:06:07

Also, what CalatalieSisters said: this initiative has been announced, so is already decided upon.

WTF are you doing here asking our opinions afterwards?

This can only be about helping to target your PR (either cherry-picking stuff in your favour, or working out where you need charm offensives to distract from the obvious problems).

I'm disabled, so I've been watching your crude but effective misinformation campaigns about disability benefits for the last few years. Well done you.hmm

Tianc Fri 25-Nov-11 17:08:45

"It's a better idea than them being idle with no prospects for the future."

If the programme destroys existing jobs, it destroys their present and their prospects for the future.

TheSecondComing Fri 25-Nov-11 17:13:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fickencharmer Fri 25-Nov-11 17:31:45

the devils in the details and where do they get the money from. Said to be Nicks idea

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 25-Nov-11 17:56:18

Did we not do this in the 80s?

YTS anyone?

CalatalieSisters Fri 25-Nov-11 18:10:44

I really wish someone from the Cabinet Office could come on and say why they started this thread and what they plan to do with the information gained from it. No chance, though, I know. Seriously, 25 posts in several hours, what role can the opinions communicated here about policies already determined and set in action have for the Cabinet Office? -- especially since, as posters have said, there are already discussions of these issues elsewhere on the forum.

It is very hard not to see this thread as intended solely to try and generate a bit of positive buzz around a spending announcement that the coalition is clearly desperate to glean some favourable publicity from.

I didn't think that PR was part of the Cabinet Office remit, though. Is there any constitutionally minded wonk who could post clarification about that? I thought they were just charged with coordinating implementation of govt policy.

herbietea Fri 25-Nov-11 18:13:20

Message withdrawn

Chaotica Fri 25-Nov-11 18:23:10

I share the worries of posters further up. The figures of unemployed helped look like a drop in the ocean (given much of it is meaningless 8 week work experience courses) and it's not clear where the money is coming from.

I know of small firms who want to take on apprentices, but can't because there is no security for them. It is a good idea to get people into work, but only if they are paid the going rate.

adamschic Fri 25-Nov-11 19:24:03

So for all the doubters, what would you do, here and now to give young people an incentive to get out of bed instead of drawing benefits?

I don't think it will take real jobs off people (although I haven't read Camerons latest victory on sacking people) maybe it's all linked in. Which was the fear when I did mine. It didn't happen that way and employers saw it as cheap help then realised that they might warrant taking someone on as business picked up, which lets hope it does.

Shakey1500 Fri 25-Nov-11 19:24:34

It's better than nothing. There just doesn't seem to be a big work ethic at present and it may kick start that at least? I'm also an old school YTS-er and it set me on a career path. Yes the pay was low but I got trained, learnt that I had to haul my arse out of bed every morning to earn a wage and learnt how "to be" at work. The first year was a magnificent £16.50 per week, rising to (I think) £27.00 per week the second year. My mum took £10 of that for keep, valuable lesson learnt. I, alongside many of the other YTS-ers, were taken on full time at the end of the scheme. This was, however, during the booming mid 1980's. Not sure if that would be the case in today's climate but, as I said, It's better than nothing, will add to a CV and overhaul the sense of entitlement epidemic.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 25-Nov-11 19:27:52

1. What is an apprenticeship? Is there any legal groundwork being set on this, or is it just left up to the individual company to decide what they do? I would like the government to stop with half-arsed initiatives and work out a really well grounded apprenticeship system, like they have in Germany. Where people are paid a reasonable amount of money for the 3 year apprenticeship, with day or block release in school, and a good chance of a job at the end of the three years.

2. Eight week placement is not long enough - if a company really want to offer a young person a work placement, then it should be for at least 3 months. I don't see how it helps anyone if the person is just settling down in a job when he is out again.

3. As others have pointed out, is there going to be any protection for the person doing work experience - or will they have to work without breaks, under terrible working conditions in fear that their JS allowance will be cut if they leave early.

adamschic Fri 25-Nov-11 19:37:05

We have an apprentice on a £2.50 (my employers pay more) day release, 1 year scheme and they get the same conditions as all the other employees. The good news is that they should be offered an permanent better paid job at the end of it.

ChristmasBreak Fri 25-Nov-11 19:37:19

This has already been going on for some time under serious names.

The cynic in me feels it creates a revolving door of cheap, disposable labour to lessen the bite of redundancies / make room for more without having to pay those concerned a decent wage or give them any of those pesky employee rights.

We shall see.

Chaotica Fri 25-Nov-11 19:40:08

To the cynical, the 8 week work placement simply serves to get the claimant off the 'long term unemployed' list (not that any of this would be about massaging the figures).

OTOH I would welcome a german-style apprenticeship scheme, and I don't really mind people being made to work if they are paid a decent living wage and have prospects at the end of it.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 25-Nov-11 19:49:01

This outlines the problems with seeing "apprenticeships" as a quick fix.

The German style apprenticeships are entrenched in the culture. You can barely get a job if you haven't done one (or have a degree).

You cannot work as a plumber/electrician/mechanic unless you have an apprenticeship in these trades. And you cannot employ people in certain trades, ie. open a business unless you are a "Meister" - so have done further vocational training.

This is what makes it successful though, because there is no market for "cheap labour" in many professions.

ChristmasBreak Fri 25-Nov-11 20:00:27

Without giving too much away, my employer recently took on workers from a youth scheme similar to what is being proposed. I believe they got a subsidy for "providing training". The workers weren't paid anything extra than the benefits they usually received because it was classed as a training course.

My sector is one which has been plagued by redundancies, restructure and leaving staff not being replaced for some time and as a result we are quite short staffed.

The youths on the "training scheme" answered phones and booked appointments for the entire time they were with us. This took some of the admin burden off us but did it teach them anything? Probably not.

Did they receive any actual useful training? No. Nobody had time to take out to train them up to do anything useful / learn any new skills and what would have been the point? They were leaving soon.

One woman had a child and struggled hugely with childcare (understandable, she was used to being at home and still getting alternative care established). She wasn't entitled to holidays or even unpaid leave which would have broken the conditions of her contract. My manager had to help her out at her own discretion without informing the coordinator several times.

They all left after their alloted time because guess what? We had no jobs to offer them. They were used to ease some of the pressure caused by redundancy and some staff working alongside them at the time were also under threat of redundancy. After however many weeks/months a shiny new recruit arrived to start the process again.

In an ideal world, this might be an idea. The reality might be more like the above and my employer is not usually an unscrupulous one, this is just the situation.

YULEingFanjo Fri 25-Nov-11 21:11:03

Why does the cabinet office care so much about what Mumsnet thinks about everything? All the time we have these threads. The government would like to know how we feel about benefit scroungers, the government would like to know how to get single parents back in work, the government would like to know what we think of benefits for the disabled, the government would like to know about childcare... on and on and on.


Who is going to direct young people onto these programmes?

Most young people are not eligible to claim Job seekers so therefore they don't go anywhere near the job centres, for which I can not blame them for. The young people use the Connexions Centres but due cuts alot of them are closing or have closed already.

Parents and carers - I would say that most parents / carers will see this scheme for exactly what it is and TBH unless travel expenses are paid then most won't be able to afford it.

Youth service - err most youth services have been cut or gone altogether, and TBF the youth workers do not have the knowledge of appreniceships and employment opportunities anyway.

Oh and who is going to make sure that they are on the right course? They need impartial guidance for this from qualified professionals. It will be a complete waste of tax payers money if a young person starts on a course and then leaves because the job isn't what they thought it was - how is this helping employers? If they do make a mistake, will they be able to swap onto another programme with a different employer? If not, then impartial guidance is essential.

If you want some constructive advice - Make the Connexions / new all age careers service responsible for the delivery of this - they will give impartial advice, ensure it matches up with career choices, they already have alot of the expertise required in place from running ESF projects.

"earn or learn" is a huge insult to the 18-24yr olds who would love to be learning but have been priced and scared out of the HE market. what a cheek!

this whole rhetoric of pretending everyone on benefits is lazy and could all go and work tomorrow whilst ignoring the lack of jobs, childcare, care support and the fact that many of these so called 'lazy' people are ill and could not cope with work even if an employer was foolish enough to take on someone unfit for work is sickening.

now we're pretending that all young unemployed people need to be told 'earn or learn' whilst simultaneously pulling up the drawbridge to higher education for most of them?


go get your PR spin on how to make this done deal sound good elsewhere.

MrsChristmasDB Fri 25-Nov-11 22:02:46

Apparently Nick is in a bit of trouble.

Instead of going round tv and radio stations, he was supposed to announce this in Parliament first, in a written ministerial statement.

Speaker John Bercow said the duty to make announcements was "an obligation upon all ministers, without exception".

Allegedly there is a written statement but no-one has seen it.

Doesn't it just fill you with hope ? grin

i think very few people realise the difference between announcing something with grand soundbites on tv and it actually happening and how rarely one seems to lead to the other.

i've worked in education and health and it's amazing how little understanding of infrastructure, expertise, time, resources etc politicians seem to have whilst making huge decisions about what the next big scheme is and parading on television and throwing money at ill thought out things.

i don't know what the alternative is - wish there was a way of experts who had to prove a degree of objectivity running things instead of letting vote grabbers and pr spinners and unqualified fools trample all over the shop.

carernotasaint Fri 25-Nov-11 22:14:57

adamschic three months is too long. Its exploitative. I did New Deal in 2000 which involved three months work placement. One month in a charity shop and two months in the local council offices. After that ended there were no jobs available so my provider was going to send me to work for another three months in a soup factory. Umm no you are not i thought. I secured a job in the sex industry and signed off. This was early 2001. i was 27.

carernotasaint Fri 25-Nov-11 22:16:28

I should add that the soup factory was yet another placement where i would only have been getting my JSA. It was NOT a waged job.

carernotasaint Fri 25-Nov-11 22:21:57

Shakey 500 the ones with a sense of entitlement are Tesco.Poundland Matalan and their ilk who have been getting freebie workers for a few years now. And then these retailers have the absolute bloody cheek to sell FAIR TRADE goods so that the people who produce these goods get a fair days pay for a fair days work. I have nothing against this but you should also practice what you preach in your own backyard,otherwise its just blatent hypocrisy.

adamschic Fri 25-Nov-11 22:24:19

It's aimed at 18-25 year olds not the 16-19 year olds who cannot claim JSA. Not forgetting that they abolished EMA which helped 16-19 year olds stay in 'learn'.

Doesn't surprise me tbh that they have hastily announced this due to the realisation of how many young people are now NEETS, it's not going to get any better from next year either due to tuition fee rises.

Agree it should be longer. I understand why people are cynical about this but hope that some good comes out of it and it gets some young people into jobs.

Tbh, I'm fed up with being suspicious and feeling hopeless about what is happening atm, especially to our young people that I'm trying to be optimistic.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Nov-11 07:47:01

A lot are talking about an 'eight week placement' but that was the previous system and it was recognised as being far too short to be any use to either employee or employer. This new scheme, as reported, is to take people on for six months.

purepurple Sat 26-Nov-11 08:33:13

I think it is a very badly thought out plan and fundamently flawed. It's main purpose seems to be to get the jobless figures down.
If companies are going to receive money to employ a young unemployed person for a period of 8 weeks or whatever it will be, what's to stop them just getting rid of that person and taking on a new one?
Which is what happens now, under apprenticeship schemes and the other work placement schemes.
Where are these jobs going to come from? If the jobs were there then there wouldn't be so many young unemployed.
The whole idea is manipulative, patronising, and too much of a token gesture.
Do the government really think we are that stupid, that we can't see through the smoke screen?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Nov-11 08:51:49

"what's to stop them just getting rid of that person and taking on a new one?"

The start-up costs of taking on a new staff member go beyond their wages. They are not immediately productive and they require a lot of training. These two reasons are why employers are reluctant to take on young people in the first place. After six months, faced with the choice of a fully-trained, productive employee that is going to cost slightly more, or starting from scratch with a cheaper but clueless new recruit most companies would prefer the former.

AmberLeaf Sat 26-Nov-11 09:08:32

So because they wanted to save money they cut funding for the Connexions service which helped and supported these young people in making education/job choices that would lead to an actual paid job....and now they want to spend £1 bn on a scheme that sounds very much like the workfare one discussed on the thread linked on pg 1.

I agree that it is better to be doing something rather than nothing especially for that age group, but will taking part in this scheme lead to a real paid job?

It looks to me that it is more about making unemployed people work for their benefits, in which case they should be honest about it and not present it as something that is 'providing hope' what hope is there if there will be no job at the end of it? yes having the experience of the work placement is something to put on a CV, but why would an employer take a young person on in a paid post if there is a constant stream of free labour? the employers will even be paid for using this free labour!

250,000 young people will be offered work experience placements lasting up to eight weeks. These will be available to every unemployed 18-to 24-year-old who wants one and has been seeking work for three months or more

Does that mean it is not compulsory?

anyone who drops out of a work experience placement or subsidised job will lose their benefits

I hope that the people doing these placements will have the same rights to breaks and H&S standards as a paid employee given that the above indicates that once on the scheme they have to complete the full time or face being penniless. Having read the workfare thread I have doubts about that TBH.

I dont like the idea of allowing and actually paying huge companies to fill job positions at no cost to them when those positions could and should be filled by a properly paid employee, I think this is the main factor that really doesnt sit right with me.

i'm wondering where these young people will be living. are their parents still supporting them at home despite receiving nothing towards their care and the cost of housing adult children or are they living in rented rooms on housing benefit that they will have stopped when they take up a placement and have to reclaim with the subsequent wait when they come out of the placement a few weeks later? i'm not aware of landlords these days that are keen to take on housing benefit due to the initial delay in receiving rent let alone imagine ones who'd want to go through that process over and over again with placements.

so yes i'd ask that question - what happens to these youngsters housing because theoretically taking a placement could lead to homelessness. and if parents are being expected to house this free labour force how are they meant to make ends meet to support the living costs of a 23yrold?

TheSecondComing Sat 26-Nov-11 09:18:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

also with public services being cut to death if you're going to give away free labour i'd rather see it go to much needed services with part time voluntary, experience gaining community service that keeps individuals feeling a part of something bigger and like they are contributing something meaningful to their community rather than feeling they're being pimped out to billion pound profit businesses to stack shelves.

what would there sick pay provision look like? what about holiday entitlements? or pension opportunities? presumably they'd have little or none of the employee rights that have been fought for?

a service like connexions that already knows how to work with young people and already has strong links with the community would be well placed to match young people with work with charities, community centres, playschemes, old people's services etc and to motivate them into volunteering with them for part time hours whilst still looking for work. they could even get young people working in groups setting up and running services. then the community would be getting something, the youngsters would be getting something and they'd still have time to be looking for work or working on their training/education part time (connexions could find a part time voluntary role plus a provider of a part time course in computing for example).

this would feel far more palatable and sane than pimping them out to tesco's as cheap shelf stackers. and it would encourage a sense of a stake in their own community rather than just being a meaningless little pawn tossed about at the whim of the powers that be which is a massively disenfranchising experience.

waps Sat 26-Nov-11 09:39:20

Maybe I'm not understanding this properly but is this not the same as Future Jobs Fund which this government halted part way through when they came to power, wasting a lot of already invested time and money?

santac Sat 26-Nov-11 10:03:57

Merrylegs my ds1 did the Big Summer Initiative- it was called UK Challenge- this Summer and it was an amazing experience and was very well run and organised. The biggest problem with it is that it is unworkable due to the number of centres and workers who would be needed to run it.
Like all these things it is a great idea on paper and not in practice.
The Youth Contract has a similar feel to it- will it be workable?

irnbruguzzler Sat 26-Nov-11 10:14:16

They need to give young people, and all unwillingly out of work people fore that matter, proper jobs/training at proper wages.

Unemployment isnt an excuse for slavery.

Concerns as an employer:
Who will pay for training? (for example who will cover the cost of an experienced member of staff training the wk experience person and shaddowing them)
Who will pay for the relevant CRB checks?
Will the position be thought about when allocated to the young person? For example do they apply and if their aspirations/ background would lead to the industry are they preferred?

Questions as someone who works with the young people:
What would the proceedure be for sickness, unattendance?
what about drug/ alcohol consumption at work? For example would this include people on a methadone programme?
Would the education course attendance be enforced?- for example if the person doesnt complete (not necessarily pass tests but complete ie turning up and participating) would they get their benefits taken away?
Are the work experience jobs realsitic in what career the person will be able to achieve?

tallulah Sat 26-Nov-11 10:47:35

The big flaw with this scheme is that it's an old one with a new name. There was something on TV a while ago about 4 teens who'd been through a similar scheme. They all started off really lazy but at the end some of them were enjoying work and highly motivated. BUT the 6 months ended and the employer got shot of them to get a new lot with a further subsidy sad

In the old days there were lots of real jobs for the young unskilled. The older workers taught you how to behave and you went from sweeping up and making the tea to the same work as the rest. They don't exist anymore. I don't know how you turn the clock back, but that's what we've lost. I agree with whoever said the problem is employers want you fully trained and with relevant experience before they'll even consider you. DH has been trying to change career but every job wants experience of their particular industry plus degree/ C&G etc.

We are facing the prospect of being forced to work until almost 70, while the young fit and strong have no prospects- daft.

tallulah Sat 26-Nov-11 10:50:16

Oh and I would add that DH got lumbered at work with some people who'd been told they had to take a job or lose benefits. He said they were awful. Refused to do anything- sneaking off on "breaks" all the time - and deliberately breaking rules so they'd be sacked. How do you prevent that?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Nov-11 10:57:27

"would you do it?"

Yes. In the period between leaving school and leaving college I did any job I could get my hands on - I worked day jobs, evening jobs, weekend jobs, sometimes all at the same time, none of them glamorous. Young people also have the freedom to move away from home to take a job... something not always open to older people with dependents.

JaxV Sat 26-Nov-11 11:16:19

My 19 year old daughter is struggling to find work - the jobs are just not out there for teens with no experience. I would love her to do some kind of work experience to get her steadily declining confidence back and earn some money of her own, to get that sense of self respect and independance. She would be happy stacking shelves right now as atleast its something. She genuinely wants to work.

However - if she was forced into a job for no more than she currently gets on benefits (has the 50/50 thing been confirmed?) then it would knock her confidence back even further. It does these kids no good to be told they are only good for cheap labour! What she needs is training and support. What she needs is a country without this damn recession and where graduates are not being forced to take the unskilled jobs that the unqualified so desperatly need. What she needed 3 years ago was a school that didnt put so much pressure on her to pass exams for their own league tables, that she crumbled under that pressure as she is so sensitive and ended up leaving school at 16 with barely a handful of GCSE's. What she needs is a society that doesnt judge young people so harshly.

This move is simply a bit of sticky tape over a problem that goes much further than a shortage of jobs for youth. Much much further. I dont know the answers but I do know this move is a dangerous one - our youth need to be believed in, to be respected, and to be supported properly. Not sold out as cheap labour.

purepurple Sat 26-Nov-11 11:32:38

DS is 22 and has been used as cheap labour since he left school.
He got a place on a construction training scheme as a school leaver theat he left wehn he got a place as an apprentice with a construction company.
He worked for 3 years and when he was fully qualified thay let him go when the recesssion hit.
As a qualified but inexperienced bricklayer he struggled to find work and just drifted into unemployment.
After a few months he got a place on a government training scheme with a local company that treated him appallingly.
Since then he has worked for agencies but has had no luck finding anything permanant.
The jobcentre keep getting him to apply for other apprentice jobs for £100 a week as an office junior. I have seen his self esteem and self confidence plummet.
He now has no money, he had to sell his car so can't travel for interviews. He feels like he has no future and is at rock bottom.
What he needs is a job that will give him back his self esteem, not another place on a scheme that will throw him back on the scrap heap when it is finished.

sorry forgot to actually have an oppinion grin

For the young people I work with i think it a FANTASTIC idea. FWIW I run a supported house providing short term accomodation for the homeless/ care leavers/ ppl with drug or alcohol problems etc.

The majority of the young people I have experienced dont have the incentive to work and are often 2nd/ 3rd generation unemployed. It's the lack of confidence about getting a job and getting them to realise working feels good.

Also its about getting them in to a routine of waking before mid day and going to bed befire midnight and feeling part of society.

Yet the work experience will have to tread the fine line between getting a foot on the ladder to inspire them and not giving them unrealistic expectations of a career they can just expect to walk right into and then will refuse any job the feel is beneath them.

and presumably he's living with you purepurple? because it must be impossible with the chaos of all that in and out of work to be able to rent anywhere, albeit just a room in a shared house, for himself.

skinny do you think there is a difference between your average youngster and homeless care leavers/ppl with drug and alcohol problems?

this government seems to be treating all youngsters as if they're delinquents and all benefit claimants and disabled as if they are adult versions of the same delinquency. whilst this scheme might well be great for those kids, particularly those with behaviour problems, no skills or qualifications etc that is not where all young people are at. youth does equal delinquency.

purepurple Sat 26-Nov-11 11:57:47

Yes, he is living with us. I get him to do jobs around the house and charge him an extortionate amount for his board and lodging because I don't want him to see staying at home as an easy ride.
I have lost out on my student discount on my council tax because he is still at home. I could have got a 25% discount as I am a full time student (even though I work 32 hrs over 4 days) but they won't give it to me because there are 3 adults living in the house.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Nov-11 12:17:12

"this government seems to be treating all youngsters as if they're delinquents "

That's grossly unfair. I think young people everywhere are finding it difficult to get into their first jobs because employers are shedding jobs, not recruiting new staff, not replacing people who are retiring and are, in many cases, asking existing staff to work for less in an effort to reduce costs and keep the business open. Coming into that environment with zero experience, even if the qualifications are there on paper, means young people are at a disadvantage. And those with no qualifications have an even more uphill battle. At least this scheme gives them chance to get experience even if it's at minimum wage and subsidised. What's better... to sit at home for £50/week or get some experience for £50/week?

AmberLeaf Sat 26-Nov-11 12:28:37

Cogito, where is the incentive for employers to create a real job if the government continues to give them free labour?

So there will be young people with some experience, but they still wont get a job if this free labour exists.

I can see that this scheme could help someone it just doesnt appear to be the young people!

many of these kids will have qualifications and prospects but just no job opportunities because of a culture of knowing you can ask for degrees and years of experience for even the most basic poorly paid jobs and get them flocking in. stacking shelves will not be experience for these kids - experience of what? many of them will be bright and able youngsters who cannot afford to go to university but are perfectly capable of doing a proper job. to treat them as if they're delinquents who need to be made to stack shelves and need lecturing on how to set an alarm clock and how to perform personal hygene and not be a drain on society just adds insult to injury.

and if tesco can take on 3 youngsters working for half pay (in terms of contributions from employers) and be given basic, unskilled work to do that requires little supervision and involves no aquisition of skills whilst having to pay no employers contributions to income tax presumably or providing any employee benefits what do you think is going to happen to the numbers of real jobs they advertise for the general public?

not all youngsters are socially inadequate, delinquent, idiots who need to be kicked out of bed. many of them will be very keen to find a real job rather than spending 40hrs a week stacking shelves at tescos.

in fact some of these youngsters (up to 24 remember) will have BEEN to university and have huge debts because they were made to pay for it only then to be told they're still worthless shits who can be made to go stack shelves for 8 weeks at a time.

i mean seriously? a 21 year old who has been encouraged by society to get into 20k's worth of debt doing a degree because they should fulfill their potential and they should go for a proper job and have ambition and education is so important etc etc being told they're a feckless delinquent for not being able to get a job in a recession and being sent to tesco's to stack shelves for 'experience'???

the more i think about it the more fucked up this is. yes it would possibly be a good idea for the 16-19 yrold bracket who have opted out of school but have no experience of working or skills but guess what - that wouldn't effect the unemployment figures would it because we've already made them disappear from the stats. but for 21 yr old graduates with 5 figure debts and a proven history of achievement and commitment through doing their degree?

Betelguese Sat 26-Nov-11 14:10:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stubbornstains Sat 26-Nov-11 15:28:32

"The government says the £1bn being made available is new money."

New money? In what sense? Are they going to print it?

It's already hard enough for young people to find a job; I can see it getting harder as they approach big employers only to be told that there are no entry level positions available as they can now get subsidised forced labour to fill those positions....

Also: "if trainees fail to complete their programme they will lose their benefits". I assume there will be some kind of tribunal set up to deal with cases where young people claim that ill-treatment or abuse has forced them to leave their positions early? Or will employers get the message that they can treat their trainees however they want, knowing that they will be forced to stay-and shut up- or lose their benefits?

Expensive, tribunals, aren't they?

Merrylegs Sat 26-Nov-11 15:37:18

santac - that is v interesting. You must be in a different part of the country to us. Here it was a shambles, and despite our best efforts (we were constantly chasing the organisers, asking where the voluntary work was/what we should be doing to help/ etc) it all fell flat and DS was v disillusioned. Hence my point about the delivery. It could have been so very different!

santac Sat 26-Nov-11 16:13:30

We are in London- I did nothing except deliver him to the pick up points. What a shame it isn't the same all over.

please stop and think this through I have just read that young people will be offered a careers interview - if this is with the job centre advisers then it is a disaster waiting to happen. JC+ advisers have been known to complete their qualifications in 6-12 weeks - does this not tell you something? If you are going ahead with this programme then please at the very least do it properly. Information and advice given by an agency who work to targets as the job centre do IS NOT impartial and they never can be.

This is public money - you have a duty to use it wisely and appropriately.

TheSecondComing Sat 26-Nov-11 17:12:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

To be honest I think that describing certain jobs as being beneath people is wrong and hugely insulting to those in those industries.

Tianc Sat 26-Nov-11 17:51:42

Depends. Underemployment is a known problem for a country.

So though I've cleaned toilets for a living while studying or travelling, it's pretty hard to argue toilet-cleaning is a now good use of my expensively acquired shortage skills.

cat64 Sat 26-Nov-11 19:08:32

Message withdrawn

JaxV Sat 26-Nov-11 19:37:14

Current minimum wage rate:

£6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over
£4.98 - the 18-20 rate
£3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
£2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

So taking the rate applicible to my daughter (£4.98) based on 36 hours a week that approximately £777 per month before tax so what, about £650 a month take home? She pays £450 per month rent which assuming wouldnt be paid by HB if she is working fulltime so it doesnt leave much for bills and transport to/from work let alone food.

JaxV Sat 26-Nov-11 19:45:11

Sorry had to rush last post - I wanted to add that it doesnt really act as much of an incentive (if it is minimum wage) for employers to keep people on if they can just let them go and take on other youths on the scheme and have such low outgoings.

exactly stubbornstains! i can't see how you can do this without offering them at least some basic employment rights that protect them from mistreatment and abuses of the system. and to have those you need infrastructure and resources - which are where?

Betelguese Sat 26-Nov-11 19:46:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

and yes exactly jaxv - the only way it works is if these youngsters are living at home and being subsidised by mum and dad who are also struggling in a recession.

Betelguese Sat 26-Nov-11 19:49:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

no decent parent is going to see their adult child homeless but how long realistically can we ask parents to support their children (we're looking at mid twenties with this scheme) whilst they're meant to be saving for their retirement with their reduced pensions and the crumbling of the welfare state?

it's not realistic is it? not long term. it may jiggle the figures for a bit and win or lose some positions in the poles for the next election but it isn't actually a sustainable way for us to live our lives.

if you're fretting about youngsters opportunities and youth unemployment and making HE too expensive for them to access at the same time and doing nothing to create real jobs and taking away benefits simultaneously how is that EVER going to add up?

this way madness...

does that mean that whilst avoiding 'borrowing' money on the hardship rhetoric that they're actually printing money and devaluing any money that way instead?

god it's madness isn't it?

the more you get to know about economics and politics the more you wish there was a way to jump ship or cry mutiny and get the captains walking the plank with their ill gotten gains left on board.

sorry - last post was to betelguese - excuse tirade.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 20:03:56

Swallowed, it's scares the crap out of you doesn't it?

Afaik a minimum waged full time job for an 18+ year old would just about cover the 3rd for you 3rd for me and 3rd for saving system so parents might be happy to keep offspring at home if they contribute in this way.

Not sure if an 18+ on JSA is allowed any housing benefit if the live with parents so I would have thought they would be glad to rent their own place and in this case cost alot more in benefits but not sure how it all works.

My soon to be adult child will be going to uni, fingers crossed, but will be home in the hols and even though I work full-time in a reasonable paid employment I have said that I will struggle with the food bill once cb and ctc ends. Hopefully mine will work in the hols and I will need a small contribution, which I actually feel embarrassed about. blush

but you've gotta survive adamschic - and for single parents like us the pressure is even greater.

i have to face the fact that i, despite being very academic myself and well qualified and a big believer in education, will probably have to advise my son who so far seems very able to not go to university because the debts accrued do not bear any relation to earning potential afterwards. unless he later on knows something he really wants to do and has clear job prospects that he can do a professional degree for or if he can later afford to study part time for more academic stuff it will be absolutely counterproductive.

times have changed rapidly - my parents generation were pushing everyone to get good qualifications and go to uni and it would all be worth it. we did or alternatively found plentiful low level but available work and rented rooms in shared houses and spent a few years getting ourselves together and working out what we wanted to do whilst earning enough money to get by with a basic lifestyle and accommodation but it was fine - second hand sofas with throws over the top etc.

a generation before my dad tells me you could walk out of your job on friday lunchtime because your boss was a pig or you were sick of it and walk into a new job on monday and if you were willing to work you'd get by.

now? it's all looking rather grim. hasn't taken long to fuck up everything totally has it?

my context is that i was coming of age during the last big recession watching people being thrown out of lifelong jobs with pitiful redundancy packages, shortfall endemnity mortgages everywhere and fraudulent pension schemes that they'd faithfully paid into for 30years only to find they'd have been better off sticking in the building society for all that time.

so erm, yes. excuse me if i'm a little cynical wink

i'm not sure what the working classes have to believe in now tbh - they can't even buy the dream that if they can get their kids to do well at school they can go to university and have a better chance at life.

it is utterly grim and i'm not at all surprised we're experiencing sections of society feeling totally and utterly disenfranchised. and i live in central/south east england. god knows how it feels in one of the ex industrial towns that were sold down the river in the north in the last recession/tory scheming session.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 20:28:16

Swallowed, I know exactly what you mean. Hopefully mine will get into a vocational based degree and it will be worth the debt.

When I was a young worker, I worked all the hours god sent for a low wage. The jobs I did as a student, finding my feet, are still there but filled with eastern europeans in the main as native workers don't want to do them as they would be working for a quid an hour. Really annoys me this attitude and the benefit system fueling it.

still going on i'm afraid but this thread is stuck in my head.

what i would love to see is groups of young people with a facilitator being given a very frugal budget to run an oap coffee morning/social support service. or a nursery rhyme time group at a library or whatever. some would develop great hospitality skills and find strengths there, some would turn out to have a good organisational streak, others would be fab at the media side promoting the event and producing posters/literature etc. they'd have a genuine product and actually be providing something for the community and gaining a sense of contribution with genuine positive feedback of smiling faces-successful events etc and people would be profitting not financially but in terms of quality of life and community building.

this realistically can't come from a government scheme but could come from accepting ok there are no jobs for these kids and they are on benefits - let's give them six months leeway where if they can show they're involved in something we won't threaten them with benefit loss because sadly we can't give them paid employment anyway. none of this bullshit rhetoric about getting them back into non existent jobs.

it would be compassionate and socially responsible to give these kids some leeway to find their feet and develop their skills and self esteem in a time where society has very little to offer them in terms of capitalist incentives. why not see them as a gift to the community to be harnassed rather than treat them like little drains on society who must be brought into a make believe line?

promise to step away from thread now but i'm really not fluffy sob story bleeding heart fool. i just honestly believe we are on a very, very mistaken trajectory that we need to pull back from rather than keeping on plunging in deeper. we should learn something from the riots and that's not that if we just make the little shits feel even smaller and crapier it'll all be ok.

i don't think anyone is working for a quid an hour adams but i do think that even those jobs we did as kids and students (waitressing, bar work, random hospitality venues and events, etc) are thin on the ground because people further up the food chain are desperate for work too along with all the single mum's who have to work around childcare and the couples doing split shift stuff around each to not have to pay childcare etc.

and i really believe that the cost of living has changed hugely even since i was an out of home teenager (and i'm only 36).

and then there's accommodation - i don't think there is the huge market of rented multiple occupant housing there was when i was younger where 5 young people could live together and share the gas meter feeding. that housing issue is partly to do with immigration around here but it's no ones fault in terms of the tenants.

we do need people to be moving on to the next stage of work/housing/retiring etc to keep making room for those to come up under them and the system has got stuck in a way. and then you think hmm extending retirement age??? it's all madness.

last post - how do you get into politics? maybe that'd get me back into work and use up this grrr and need to influence things.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 20:44:32

I meant that they work out that if they work 35 hours a week they are only better off by £50 a week, factor in travel, lunch, clothes/uniform then the net gain can be £1 an hour.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 20:45:55

Swallowed, look into it. I'm sure you would do very well grin.

Tianc Sat 26-Nov-11 20:49:05

cat64, I can't work out exactly what's being proposed here, but currently there are "work experience placements" paid only with dole. And penalised with removal of benefits if the person does not complete, or indeed goes to the loo (see other thread).

It all sounds a mishmash on the BBC article, but some parts could be an expansion of work-for-dole.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 20:56:13

Oh just remembered this is a sticky thread so will add to posters who were wondering how they would find the money for this and mentioning printing it. No-way, we don't need to print the money because it was always there. It's been filtered off from our young people anyway but they hoped to spend some on the 'deficit' and some on what they hell they wanted. Only now they have realised that things are looking bad so are trying to right a few wrongs.

Hope people realise that out of all the money we earn, taxes, be it income tax, council tax, fuel/alcohol/tobacco duties, VAT. We pay back about 65% of our earnings in the tax and we deserve for our children to have a decent education and decent health and social services.

yeah it's really not cap in hand begging to the manor house to let our children have bread scenario adams no matter how it's painted.

what they're trying to do though is give those who pay taxes the impression that all of their labour is going to keep feckless single mum's, layabouts, hoodies, scrounging old folks in big council houses laughing it up on wide screen tv and smack.

ever so sadly it appears to be working with a lot of people on here sad

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 21:09:41

Yes and for anyone who doesn't realise this people on benefits pay taxes too.

Betelguese Sat 26-Nov-11 21:16:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

woollyideas Sat 26-Nov-11 21:21:01

SwallowedAfly - I think your posts are spot on and raise some excellent issues and questions. I do hate the rhetoric of this government - the suggestion implicit in so many of their 'initiatives' that claimants are a bunch of shirkers. Learn or earn? For goodness sake. They have made it so difficult for our young people to continue in education or to find work, with the loss of EMA, increase in university fees, and paucity of jobs. I absolutely disagree with companies like Tesco exploiting our young peoples' loss for their, and their shareholders', gain.

Betelguese Sat 26-Nov-11 21:27:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

breadandbutterfly Sat 26-Nov-11 21:28:38

I think the scheme sounds like exploitation of the poor for the benefit of big business - if these young people were really going to be helped in getting long-term positions, with training involved, learning real skills, then I'd be all for it - but instead it's just another handout of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money (and not just any taxpayers - they are planning to take it from tax credits ie the poorest taxpayers) to subsidize the wage bill of big employers like Tesco etc. The kids will be doing unskilled work, so will not learn any skills that will help them in future; they'll be pushing another unskilled worker out of a job, as Tesco or whoever can employ the kid on the scheme at half price, as the taxpayer is kindly paying half the wage bill; and of course, the second the 6 months is up, they too will be back on the dole, no nearer to getting a job, whilst another young dolie subsidized by the taxpayer takes over their job.

The scheme in no way provides new jobs that aren't there already nor any training in skills - it is just another freebie for the big corporations who bankroll the Tories.

Oh, and the Tories get to massage their unemployment statistics by pretending they've cut the numbers of young jobless, when all they've done is just moved them around a bit.

Of course it's a rubbish idea.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 21:32:38

Have they said that Tesco et al can take part in the scheme?

I hope they will screen companies that meet the criteria and multi nationals shouldn't be eligible.

Betelguese Sat 26-Nov-11 21:41:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

breadandbutterfly Sat 26-Nov-11 21:52:38

adamschic - yes, from what I have read it will be particularly companies like Tesco who will benefit from the scheme.

adamschic Sat 26-Nov-11 22:02:01

It should exclude the multinationals. They should only make it available to companies below a turnover threshold.

breadandbutterfly Sat 26-Nov-11 22:22:04

i wouldn't mind it being multinationals IF there was guarantee that the young people were actually learning a skill/trade ie an apprenticeship-type position. But these aren't - we're talking totally unskilled work. There is also no guarantee that the money we subsidize these companies with will stay in the UK at all, and not end up in some off-shore tax haven or wherever.

Nice for shareholders, nice for Tories benefitting from the largesse of these companies to Tory funds.

Not so good for taxpayers or the young people concerned.

Jux Sat 26-Nov-11 22:52:07

It's rubbish.

Companies get cheap labour and then dump the kids when the time runs out. It's all been done before.


[yawn] [boo] [hiss]

when are we going to apply some intelligence to policies instead of spin?

very very yawn worthy that we're still stuck in this old fashioned, out of date, kind of government that thinks it's still about treating people as thickies and throwing rubber carrots around. when will they catch up with the world we live in now and the way we communicate/hear news/garner our world view now?

woollyideas Sat 26-Nov-11 23:39:18

breadandbutterfly - this is the problem, isn't it? The young people will get to put 'shelf filling' (for example) on their CVs. If they have a degree in, say, history, how will that help their prospects? Why can't they be supported to have proper, meaningful training, and why can't there be an expectation of employment, if only for a percentage of the participants, at the end of it?

JaxV Sat 26-Nov-11 23:40:25

If they cut tax credits to fund this we're screwed. We rely on tax credits to feed us as my partners wages just about cover the mortgage and bills and we have recently had to go carless as we cant afford to run it anymore.

I left a well paid job to be a SAHM because my job was 48+ hours a week including night shifts and it just wasnt feasible with a baby - we worked out she would have to be in childcare atleast 30 hours a week and we just couldnt justify that. I tried to find a job that was less hours but....well you know the score and I have 2 degrees!

Robbing Peter to pay Tescos ahem sorry Paul.

it's all screwed if they take this from tax credits because families trying to keep a roof over these youngsters heads whilst raising younger children and trying to make ends meet will be having their incomes cut whilst these kids are piddled around on and off benefits in complete go nowhere land.

and on a facetious note - companies offer us cash prizes or amazon vouchers as an incentive for helping them improve their brand image whilst you're not even giving out free pens i note! wink you can't always take something for nothing you know so do let's us know what's in it for these kids when they take up their part as porns in the latest farce.

realhousewife Sun 27-Nov-11 00:03:55

The government is so out of touch thinking it can come up with a couple of good ideas to pacify our rioting youngsters when all around them can see the education and training employment and benefit system in our country is a waste of life skills talent and goodwill.

Politicians children always do well because they are in the know to find the right path for their children. But in doing so they have enabled a defective system to fester, the product of which is cowboy builders, illegal immigrant workers, manufacutring decline, call-centre hell, benefit fraud, jobs for the boys, underpaid key workers living in overpriced key worker accommodation subsidised by the government and its taxpayers.

The £2275 will be used by employers to take on a lad for 6 months and then sack him - there are no employment tribunals allowed for small firms now, so it's all possible.

carernotasaint Sun 27-Nov-11 00:40:12

realhousewife you left one off your list and thats the sex industry. I can see many people either turning to this industry when their benefits get stopped when they dont want to do an unpaid work placement or the JC sanction them or they become so disillusioned by working for nothing that they turn to this in desperation. A person could end up doing one unpaid work placement after another. I know because they tried to do it to me.

sakura Sun 27-Nov-11 06:12:12

SaF, I'm loving your posts on this thread. Especially this quote:

"the more you get to know about economics and politics the more you wish there was a way to jump ship or cry mutiny and get the captains walking the plank with their ill gotten gains left on board."

It's true isn't it. As a child and then a teen you believe that all these important men out there who know how the world works and get paid all this money to make sure the cogs keep turning...

... and then you become an adult, look into it a bit, and realise the people in power don't have a clue OR they do have a clue and are doing it all on purpose. I favour the latter opinon. I've been thinking for a while now that politicians such as Nick Clegg do know the suffering they cause with their ridiculous plans but they simply don't care

they just must know surely? there have been suicides amongst people dependent on public services that have dwindled, suicides from people terrified that they can't even cope with a scary assessment/threatening letter let alone being forced back in to work when they're disabled, etc. they don't live in such ivory towers that this stuff doesn't reach them. They must at least glance at the papers or have someone do it for them and fill them in.

i read an article the other day looking at individual cases and the stats of rocketing suicide rates in the first part of 2010 and on from there.

i do feel they've got to catch up with the fact that a lot of us are quite bright, have been around long enough to see patterns, are media savvy and glean our understanding from much wider sources and platforms than the bbc and sky news and therefore it's all a lot more 'visible' if you like.

it's time to have in some grown ups who treat people like grown ups.

however if you eradicate the chance for the working classes (and i include those who think of themselves as middle class but really don't get how times have changed and how they essentially too are the working classes even though they'd have been deemed middle class by their parents generation) to access higher education and tie them up stacking shelves throughout their youth i guess you may get a less informed, more gullible population in the future. i doubt it though because new media and technology means people can't be so utterly cut off from communicating and learning and developing their views.

JaxV Sun 27-Nov-11 10:54:00

I think some of them (politicians) know exactly what they are doing and want to pacify the rich at the expense of the majority, and others have the best intentions but get blindsided by their peers and caught up in so much propoganda they get dragged over to the dark side!

I agree that the world has changed now in terms of access to knowledge and communication - unfortunately the war on the net and its freedoms has already begun though so I reckon you can kiss that goodbye by the time our kids are grown.

I have emailed my local MP a few times over the NHS issues and he is pretty good at replying and collecting opnions to send on to his superiors, I would urge anyone to do the same. If enough people contact their local MP's and voice their concerns it really can make a difference as proven by organisations such as 38degrees smile SwallowedAFly, if you haven't already checked them out I think they are right up your street!

sakura Sun 27-Nov-11 13:21:33

Yes, don't underestimate what a couple of generations of non-education can do to create apathy. It's really important that women, in particular, stay educated and on the ball, or these men in power will shaft our daughters and grand-daughters!

purepurple Sun 27-Nov-11 15:10:11

I agree about joining 38 degrees, they are doing some fantastic work. Although the health minister Simon Burns, has called us 'zombies' for emailing our concerns to our MPs.

purepurple Sun 27-Nov-11 15:12:58

Here is the clip from the House of Commons

JaxV Sun 27-Nov-11 15:46:04

I saw that clip Purepurple - he hasn't done himself any favours there has he!!

Betelguese Sun 27-Nov-11 18:47:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Sun 27-Nov-11 18:50:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

realhousewife Sun 27-Nov-11 18:54:26

Absolutely what wibblybibble said. WB for PM.

Big business employers are taking the mickey.

Now Tescos have Local stores and have finally obliterated the last of the local family businesses. An extra £2275 a year won't keep these businesses afloat when the onslaught from big business is relentless.

Cameron recently called for parents to take their kids into work on strike day. I look forward to seeing a bunch of kids hanging round tescos all day - or the meat processing plant, the farm fields or the recycling plant. This government is so out of touch.

adamschic Sun 27-Nov-11 19:08:02

I would like to see it targetted at smaller companies who will train people in skills but who maybe aren't sure if they can afford to take someone on but might be able to expand by doing so. Not Tesco and the like who can afford to employ people on normal terms to stack shelves. That's just wrong, wrong.

Betelguese Sun 27-Nov-11 20:10:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

realhousewife Sun 27-Nov-11 21:32:12

Having looked into this a bit closer it's almost as if the govt has thought - rioting youngsters costs the country money. What we're going to do is chuck some money at the problem to keep them off the streets for six months - from April. This means through the Summer Holiday Riot Season. Call me a cynic.

They've just done some sums but the outcomes will be a temporary blip and keep some kids off the streets in the Summer before the next election.

My guess is that next summer you'll have hundreds of thousands of ex-public sector workers whose shared ownership keyworker ripoff flats will be repossessed, leaving them on the streets with plenty of time for rioting.

I might just join them. Stop tinkering about the edges, we need radical reform - not of the poor unemployed - but reform and control of the big greedy ripoff businesses who feed off their desperation.

dancingmustard Mon 28-Nov-11 03:18:39

Leaving school at 15 and starting work on a yop/yts scheme in the middle 70's I have an inkling how resentful these kids are going to be.
My 'Training' involved 60 or so hours a week behind a Woolco shop counter for 27 quid a week.
These schemes will only ever benefit the employers some of them opening up new companies using this cheap naive labour to fill their pockets.
The grey 70's just returned I feel sorry for any school leavers out there today.

absolutely betel! we need to be diversifying backwards, forwards and sideways to create more sustainable business', new jobs, trades etc etc not creating even more monolithic-ness in the economy (shelf stacking hmm ).

we need to get creative fgs.

i was thinking as well, rather cynically, that it's all about forcing young people wth ability and potential who've been raised and schooled with the notion that if you work hard at school and do well you can more options in your life and work etc forget their uppity ideas and be willing to go and do the shit work for minimum wage for the rest of their lives. that maybe it's about breaking them and deliberately crushing their aspirations and ambition because our economy and jobs market will provide nothing to match them sad

i hope that is just cynicism gone mad but i fear it might not be. this is about crushing young people and preparing the next generation to stack shelves and answer phones in call centres for minimum wage and no employee rights for the rest of their lives no matter what their abilities or qualifications sad how about getting on with creating jobs and giving real hope instead?

i think basically currently we are seeing the absolute DEATH of social mobility. there is not much 'hope' in that.

GrendelsMum Mon 28-Nov-11 14:08:17

I wonder if Wibbly has particular types of firm in mind when making her suggestions? We run a small business employing 30 people (fair enough, 30 people isn't many in the grand scheme of things, but every little helps), and I'm afraid that her suggestions would make things extremely difficult for us. We run on very tight profit margins - sales bring in enough money to pay all the expenses of the business and pay everyone's salaries, but there certainly isn't extra sloshing around in the pot. If we make someone redundant, its becasuse we've lost clients, and we certainly couldn't afford to pay extra taxes because we've lost clients.

Hiring new people is a massive stress - because money is tight, we only hire when we can't manage the amount of work with the staff we have. We have to pay to advertise, pay recruitment firms, and staff who are already busy have to squeeze the time to select and interview people into their day. We have real difficulties finding British people with the appropriate language skills to do the job. (We've been joking lately about heading down to the youth protests in Madrid and recruiting people from there, on the grounds that some of them might be able to speak more than one language.) Hiring anyone involves about a 6 week period when they aren't particularly useful to the business - and during which time, they're taking up another staff members' time to support them. We have taken a new graduate for the last couple of years, but they do need a lot of extra time put in to support and mentor them, and that comes at a cost to the business. I'd like to do more to give young people work experience, but it actively costs us money to do it.

I think Adamschic's idea that this should be targetted at small businesses rather than Tescos etc is in some ways good idea, but I'm afraid it would need a lot of money (to cover the costs for the company of looking after the young people, planning an appropriate programme for them in advance, etc.)

realhousewife Mon 28-Nov-11 14:08:45

There's nothing wrong with shelf-stacking or working in a factory. These jobs can be done with pride. The bit that's wrong is the way in which employers treat their staff. There are very few companies now that are concerned about their employees well-being. This is what needs to change. If our young people are going to work for £6.25 an hour, employers can at least value them and treat them well so that they actually want to turn up.

Rowntree, one of our fathers of social welfare, set up a business offering fair pay and fair conditions to its workers, employing 14,000 people on favourable terms. Nestle bought it in 1988 leaving behind misery and failure.

The government has to be more radical than this and force better practices from big business. Most people want to work, but most people don't want to be miserable either.

realhousewife Mon 28-Nov-11 14:12:51

I agree with Gretelsmum that the amount offered isn't enough for small businesses anyway, but small business should not have to run so close to the edge all the time. They are squeezed out by the powerful companies and it has to stop. Business rate should be reduced, favourably for small businesses, for a start.

fickencharmer Mon 28-Nov-11 16:01:26

Nick Clegg did the youth contract to get the figures below a million youngsters unemployed. Bosses will benefit. The young have lost faith

carernotasaint Mon 28-Nov-11 16:59:49

realhousewife one of the mums i worked with once brought her eleven year old daughter into the sex chatline office i used to work in because her childcare fell through. Does Camoron really think everyone works at a lovely oak desk typing or doing data entry?

GrendelsMum Mon 28-Nov-11 17:44:36

I'm not sure that we as a company are necessarily being squeezed out by the big companies - it's generally a more complex relationship than that. The 'squeezing out' of local shops, for example, can be very visible, but I suspect there are a lot of other UK companies like us that supply the large companies, but which go unnoticed. Big multinational companies are our customers, so we're screwed without them. Some of our competitors are big companies too, some are probably not much larger than we are, or maybe smaller. We compete against the big companies by being better, quicker and more specialised. There was an interesting article in this week's Economist that said that one of the problems that small business in the UK has is that there aren't enough large businesses to supply and sell to, in contrast to Germany.

Our constant concern is over keeping and hiring staff who have the specialist skills we need. It seems tragic that at one and the same time there are young people finding themselves 'unemployable', and we are scratching around desperately to find people who can do our jobs. I think that one of the problems is that the skills people need nowadays are less predictable, and more of them are personal rather than mechanical skills. We need more fluent Mandarin and Cantonese speakers with real sales ability and good technical skills, for example, and these aren't things that it's all that easy to teach on an NVQ or similar.

amicissima Mon 28-Nov-11 18:52:07

"It does these kids no good to be told they are only good for cheap labour! " I'm afraid that a young person with no experience and no specific training for the job s/he's doing is only good for cheap labour in the short-term. After a while learning the job, s/he should be in a position to command a better salary.

"many of them will be very keen to find a real job rather than spending 40hrs a week stacking shelves at tescos." There are a lot of people who stack shelves at Tesco's who consider they have a 'real' job - and are very grateful for it, even if they don't plan to spend the rest of their working lives doing it.

"I would think that Mr Osborn should look at these traditional local skills and crafts and how to revitalise them and designate funding for young people in these sectors rather than stacking shelves just..." The problem is that there isn't much demand for the products of traditional skills and crafts. Do you buy beautifully hand crafted products, or the mass-produced stuff because it's within your budget?

I'm old enough to have worked through the previous recessions and the boom times. In the lean days I took what work I could get (I had to pay rent etc). I did do one of those government programmes - YOPs, YTS, TOPs, I forget - which got me launched. In wealthier times I was fussier and pursued jobs that took me in the direction I wanted to go.

The advantage of taking 'what you can get' (even on a 'scheme') now is that a future employer, looking at your CV, will know that you get yourself to work every morning, put the effort into even a less-than-perfect job, take instruction and correction and interact with fellow workers and seniors, maybe custormers, in an appropriate manner. From what I am hearing, these attributes are sadly lacking among a number of young people (I was going to say 'these days', but I suspect it has always been true to some extent).

I say this as the mum of a recent graduate who gratefully took a minimum wage job and was promoted, through hard work and good attitude, within months. She may have a degree from a RG uni, but that hasn't provided her with skills that employers need ATM.

amicissima - yes there are lots of people at tesco grateful for their jobs but they are jobs as in the 'real' jobs i meant as in jobs rather than short training placements that offer no 'job' at the end of it. you see the difference no?

cheap labour that doesn't even equal a job is not like doing low paid basic jobs to get by whilst you're young as we/many of us did. there is a distinct difference. the kids can't get those jobs that we luckily got and got us by because there aren't any. and there will be even less if the likes of tesco's are getting their shelves stacked by kids without a proper salary and zero employee rights.

you might need to rethink your ideas of lucky and gratitude. your dd was lucky to get a minimum wage job in the current climate. those without a degree going for the same minimum wage job didn't stand a chance presumably given the employers could pick from graduates.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 19:06:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 19:07:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 19:16:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amicissima Mon 28-Nov-11 19:56:55

But the UPVC windows, for example, are cheaper. You can see all around that people buy them. Are there a lot of people around who feel they can afford the traditional products? I don't deny they are better and longer lasting, I just doubt there is enough demand at the moment to keep many people in decent employment.

Betelguese, I applaud your friends and your DS's friends. Unfortunately not everybody has the confidence or initiative to set up their own business. They need to find employment. Some of them are not terribly attractive to employers, particularly at a time when jobs are scarce. We know this because of the high numbers of young people who are unemployed, some graduates, some not. The government is trying to help these unemployed people be in a position to compete with those who have some experience in the workplace.

The scheme may not be perfect, but I know I can't come up with something better. If you, or anyone, can, please suggest it to the government ASAP, before ever more young people get entrenched in demoralising unemployment.

realhousewife Mon 28-Nov-11 20:07:11

Grendelsmum, the difference between Germany and us, is that German businesses are not run by shareholders and therefore do not have to provide profitable returns on a quarterly or annual basis. German businesses are able to commit to long term planning sometimes over 10 or 20 years because they are only accountable to themselves and their employees. I'm not an expert - there was a programme about this on radio 4 about the pencil companies - Staedtler, Stabilo etc.

ooo here it is -

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 20:19:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Mon 28-Nov-11 20:29:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

breadandbutterfly Mon 28-Nov-11 21:47:51

But Betelgeuse - of course you are right, but your posts assume the govt actually wants to make a long-term positive difference to either the kids on these schemes or the economy. Sadly, neither is true - this new plan exists only to enrich companies like Tesco even further, at taxpayers' expense, and to fiddle the youth employment figures. Plus the large-scale availability of cheap labour via these schemes should proably help to keep wage levels down too - great for the Tories' rich backers. Not so good for the ordinary people doing the jobs, obviously.

breadandbutterfly Mon 28-Nov-11 21:54:08

Clearly, as there is a mismatch between skills needed by employers like GrendelsMum and those offered by young people in the UK, young people need to be trained to meet those needs, either by the companies concerned (with taxpayer support if need be) or by our education system prior to employment.

Instead, the govt favours reducing our native skills base still further, by cutting higher education budgets, whilst relying (implicitly, if not admitting as much) on importing the skilled workers we need while UK workers remain unemployed. Or on moving all UK-based manufacturing abroad, to areas with cheaper and more highly-skilled workforces. Neither of which is good for the UK economy and UK benefits' bills, long-term.

Absolutely no joined-up thinking going on here.

GrendelsMum Mon 28-Nov-11 22:20:38

<Sorry, just going to have a bit of a rant now, without much relevance to the question>

It's the bloody languages that are such a problem. We've given up even hoping that British job applicants will actually be able to speak a foreign language fluently. We're now just hoping that they can brush up rusty A-level German and so on enough to write an email which will not utterly disgrace the company. Trying to find someone who can go into a company in another European company and sell to them is like hens' teeth. It's the feeling that they could have studied this at school or University and didn't which is so frustrating.

And English spelling, and grammar, and being able to construct a polite email or letter in appropriately formal language. Again, they could have learnt most of this in school, and didn't.

<rant over>

Having said all that, we do have a couple of young graduates who have many many excellent qualities, are (when well managed) very hard working, and are intelligent and quick to learn. One of them recently finished her first successful project, and we took the team out for cocktails to celebrate. They do have real potential - it's just that they need quite a bit more handholding to get there, and sometimes the hidden costs of training and support mean its more cost efficient to hire someone with those extra 5 years or so more experience.

it's 4 year thinking isn't it? again and again. all scheming their next spin bollocks election campaign while all around rome burns.

grendel my sister is fluent in french and german, has worked doing legal translations and in various specialised industries so extremely skilled language wise and very at ease with dealing with technical language etc. she's also looking for a career change after leaving a very big company to go out on her own free lancing for a while. mid 40's, highly experienced, has worked in other european capitals and very, very good with people. can i send her to you?

because weirdly those who do have these skills find it very hard to find work that makes use of them here in england. easy when they are living overseas but she has struggled to find anything of the same level of skill use as she had in paris.

sorry - random tangent.

and yes it is utter madness in a climate where we don't have enough unskilled labour to go round to be cutting HE budgets and discouraging most young people from going into HE. maybe they should consider ways to encourage HE in particular subjects/skill areas and incentivise kids to go into them and get industry on side too in playing it's part in contributing towards the training of the labour it will use whether that be through financial contributions, sponsorship or providing high quality training placements for students.

her other friend who had a similar education and work experience through his 20's with a successful career with a big company in germany has now ended up as a modern foreign languages teacher. my sis has even found herself contemplating doing the same for a secure (albeit reduced) income. neither of them upon returning to england with family commitments could find any real suitable/equable employment in the uk which came as a big shock to me because surely we have to do big business with european countries and we don't expect them constantly to be working in english? it's weird.

realhousewife Tue 29-Nov-11 08:45:22

I'm bilingual German and used to find that whenever I talked to Germans they spoke better English than me so didn't get the opportunity to use it. I found that jobs using my language skills were poorly paid because they tended to use less demanding German workers, usually young and with no commitments.

But German has a 'business language' that is quite distinct to the conversational and literary language that we learn here at in school and in my case, at home.

yes it's all very specialised isn't it? i appreciate that from talking to my sister. she worked for a massive legal firm and it's obviously a whole language of it's own and there is no room for error when you are translating legal documents that hundreds of thousands of pounds could rest on shock

glad you back up that it's hard to use language skills here realhouse - it sounds like it should be such a great skill but it isn't much rewarded in this country.

realhousewife Tue 29-Nov-11 09:46:25

I don't think it's rewarded here because Germans get the better training, so get all the jobs (when it comes to specialised stuff) and UK businesses have relied on German businesses speaking our language. Another issue with Germany is that the East Germans all learnt Russian as a second language, so when doing business in the old East you really do need to know their language. Much of the manufacturing goes on in the old East, and the older generation (probably now the managers of those businesses) will be dependent on other people speaking german to them.

i guess it's a vicious circle. my sisters main language (because of living there for over a decade) is french and she can find very little in this country. i suspect there's not the job market and there's not the skills are linked very closely. the skills aren't really going to come up if there aren't good jobs out there for the taking to make it worth investing in the skills (eg HE choices) and the jobs aren't likely to come up if there aren't skilled natives to take them - they'll find ways round it like employing from overseas or yes, relying on their contacts to work in english confused

this is a bit of a detour sorry - interesting stuff though thereal.

Betelguese Tue 29-Nov-11 10:46:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Tue 29-Nov-11 10:57:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

i (upon dropping out of my a'levels when i had a lot going on as a teen and before returning to academic study later) got myself on a course to do business admin and typing and wordprocessing skills. it was a ten week course and there was a scheme out then whereby i got paid £40pw to do it. i was about 16/17 and living at home so it was doable financially - just enough money to pay my bus fares and lunches and the odd pack of ciggies etc and feel like i had money in my pocket and i was doing real, practical, transferrable qualifications that would put something real under my belt at the end.

that, for me, at that time was good. that would be an answer for some. the agency that did the training was above an employment agency for young people with the same management and they then got kids into work if they could after. a private enterprise but getting some training money from a scheme and we got the money from whatever the payment scheme was back in the early nineties.

that is a very, very different matter than being told you have to go stack shelves at tescos for 2 months with no qualifications or recognised skills or a job coming out of it at the end.

actually we would have still been in near recession times then wouldn't we? and yet there were jobs for us to go to - even if constant rounds of typing/data entry/filing etc.

GrendelsMum Tue 29-Nov-11 17:51:24

I think Realhousewife makes a good point about the generation who learnt Russian rather than English at school - we find you only have to have one person around the table during a sales presentation who feels their business English is a bit patchy, before the group as a whole are extremely chuffed that you can present in German instead. And there are plenty of people who feel pissed off enough if they've got a problem with the product they've bought, without having to explain it in a foreign language.

I know just what you mean about the use of young cheap Germans to do the jobs which need purely language skills, though. It's when you need language skills plus other stuff that it gets tricky.

realhousewife Wed 30-Nov-11 22:13:17

SAF that sounds like a really good scheme you were on. Colleges should be linked in with employers. It makes the college more accountable, ensuring they turn out kids that know the meaning of timekeeping etc, and gives the business a better reputation.

the business was called " 'X' commercial training" and the agency downstairs was called starting off. it was quite an efficient thing they had going on actually being able to feed each other business/candidates. and despite going on to do post grad study etc i will NEVER regret learning to type and some basic computing smile

realhousewife Thu 01-Dec-11 11:41:35

Mine was 'The Television Typing Centre' in Oxford Street. Learnt to type in 2 weeks and was never short of work. Different skills require now though. Those were the days... manual typewriters and an ashtray on every desk.

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