Govt launches scheme to guarantee jobs for long-term unemployed

The
Government is launching a £40m programme to give the long-term unemployed
improved skills and confidence through guaranteed jobs.

The
StepUP campaign will be introduced in April 2002 in six pilot areas and will
provide real jobs for up to a year as well as personalised support and
training.

The
move is designed to help those who are unemployed and who have not been able to
secure full-time work after completing a New Deal programme. They will receive
the National Minimum Wage and be entitled to the same employment rights and
benefits of other workers.

"There
are some people who have been out of the labour market for some time and who
need extra support to help them into work," said Alistair Darling, Work
and Pensions Secretary.

"StepUP
will give them the self esteem and confidence they need to hold down a job as
well as provide them with the skills, work record and even the day-to-day
discipline of going to work," he said.

The
scheme will focus on unemployment blackspots that lie geographically close to
areas with high numbers of vacancies or skills shortages so that the
participants pay won’t be taken up by travelling costs.

The
initial pilot areas are Sheffield, Cardiff, Oldham, Sunderland, Lambeth and
East Ayrshire.

www.dwp.gov.uk

By Ross Wigham

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