Business groups welcome eight-week work experience plans

Business groups have welcomed government plans to get more young people into work by extending the length of time they can spend doing work experience without losing benefits.

The aim is to allow unemployed 18- to 21-year-olds the chance to build up valuable experience on their CVs through work experience placements that will be available through Jobcentre Plus. Under the proposals, up to eight weeks of work experience can be undertaken.

Previously, a maximum of two weeks’ work experience could be carried out before the loss of benefits.

Jackie Orme, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) welcomed the plans, saying: “Young people have fared poorly in the recent recession and are likely to remain at the back of the hiring queue if they don’t have the opportunities to train and gain work experience.

“Work experience is a perfect way to break the vicious circle of ‘no experience, no job’, and give young people an opportunity to develop and demonstrate the skills and commitment employers need.”

Orme urged CIPD members to make the most of the new work experience matching service, which the Government and Jobcentre Plus have unveiled as part of the plans.

Katja Hall, CBI director of employment policy, also supported the plans. She commented: “No experience is more valuable to a young person looking for a job than real work. Even if the employer who gives you a work placement isn’t hiring, you will gain key skills which boost your employability and raise the chances of you getting a job somewhere else.”

The announcement comes as figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation indicate that one 16- to 24-year-old in five is now out of work, the highest rate since records began in 1992.

Announcing the plans today (Monday), employment minister Chris Grayling said: “Our new work experience scheme will give young people the chance to get valuable experience in a business for up to two months, which will make a real difference to their confidence, their employability and their prospects.”

The scheme is part of the Government’s Get Britain Working package, which includes the roll-out of work clubs across the country and the introduction of the New Enterprise Allowance, which will support unemployed people looking to start new businesses.

Resources on providing work placements

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