CONTROVERSY is brewing over the government’s work experience programmes following the ruling that some of its back-to-work schemes amount to “forced labour”.
As has been shown, some people are being assigned pointless job placements, without any remuneration, as a condition of keeping their benefits.
The government says it wants to assist those who are serious about getting into work. But it also needs to show that it is serious about encouraging a work ethic and that surely includes instilling the principle that work has a value.
If we are to give people – and particularly young people – a meaningful work experience, it should be through a proper paid job.
It does not need to be a permanent job, but one that genuinely gives the employee’s working life a kick-start. The sense of reward that comes, in part, from being paid for your efforts is fundamentally important to anyone’s motivation to strive to do more.
I am delighted that there is a growing number of businesses which not only recognise this, but are also prepared to give young people such an opportunity through a programme I’ve set up, called Hand Picked.
These employers have committed to giving a young person, who has struggled to find a job, three months’ paid employment and a chance to prove themselves.
At the end of the job they will be given a reference by the business owner and support in finding a permanent position.
For the young people who do not have stand-out CVs, it’s a way to increase their employment chances, while learning comprehensively what it means to have a job.
GERARD EADIE CBE
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