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Young unemployed to be forced into unpaid work
Young people claiming unemployment benefit in Haringey will be forced into unpaid work under a new pilot scheme.
All 18 to 24-year-olds who have worked for less than six months will have to complete 13 weeks of voluntary work in order to continue claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA).
Placements of 30 hours-a-week will be contracted to charities and voluntary organisations with the aim of providing work experience that benefits the local community.
London Mayor Boris Johnson and Employment Minister Chris Grayling yesterday announced the scheme, which will be piloted in 16 London boroughs, including Haringey.
The new scheme which will be introduced later this year is expected to affect 6,000 young people across the capital.
Tom Richter has been claiming job seekers allowance for the last nine months and had to sign on after finishing university.
The 24-year-old said: “It seems like a long time to be doing volunteering work each week.
“It it will help young people get some experience but when are you going to have time to look for an actual job.
“I think they should create more jobs instead of creating more job schemes and I don’t know if it will actually help get people a job.
“I’ve got a lot of experience in different areas but at the end of the day it sometimes seems to be just about who you know.”
Work placements will include practical support such as CV writing and interview skills to help young people into employment.
Contracts will be arranged with local organisations in the next few weeks and the pilot scheme will begin later this year.
Anti-workfare groups have criticised the idea, claiming young people are being unfairly treated.
Mark Dunk from activist organisation Right to Work said: “Young people are being punished for being unlucky enough to be unemployed when there are not enough jobs.
“The scheme undermines their ability to find employment by filling positions with unpaid roles. This will not help them develop. They’re getting pushed into stacking shelves, painting fences and sitting on the tills of charity shops – all of which they will already possess the skills to do.”
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