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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

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