Government to fast-track unemployed 18-year-olds into Jobcentre Plus’ support and sanctions system

Unemployed 18-year-olds face losing their benefits if they do not undertake at least four weeks of full time work, government has announced.

Recently appointed secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, told the House of Commons that from next April, young people not in education, employment or training, for at least 26 weeks by their 18th birthday will be fast-tracked to the intensive, Jobcentre Plus-led support and sanctions regime.

If they cannot prove they are actively looking for work, they will have their benefits stopped.

Those young people not in education, employment or training who fail to find work during the next six months, will be referred to a specialist provider from the voluntary or private sector, to ensure they undertake a minimum of four weeks’ full time, relevant, work-related activity.

According to government, it will tailored to an individual’s needs to help prepare them to enter the workplace and may include work on a project of benefit to the local community, work experience or a work placement.

Purnell said: “The message that I want to give to young people is that they are expected to work for their money. Many young people have never experienced the world of work and this often works against them when looking for employment.

“We want to break down the barriers that young people face. Everyone has a talent, something to offer their community, by making work part of the deal for getting their benefits we can help them to realise their potential,” he said.

Official figures show that one in six (1.24 million people) aged between 16 and 24 are not working or on a training course.

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