Jowell in New Deal skills pledge

No one will leave the New Deal gateway scheme without literacy and numeracy
skills, the Government pledged last week.

Minister for employment Tessa Jowell made the promise at the employment
sub-committee of the House Of Commons.

It follows the embarrassing admission by the Government that four in 10 New
Deal recruits have problems with reading or arithmetic (Personnel Today, 18
January). Last year ministers denied that employers had difficulty with the
calibre of recruits.

Jowell did not give details on how the target would be met.

But she acknowledged that "an enormous amount of investment" would
be needed.

"Do not underestimate how much more disadvantaged the people we are now
dealing with are," she told MPs.

Paul Bivand, researcher at the Unemployment Unit and Youthaid – an
independent body that monitors the New Deal – said the challenge for the
Employment Service will be to identify the trainees most in need of help.

"There was a feeling among employers that a lot of people who got
subsidised jobs were further away from job readiness than expected," he

"People in the Employment Service have since been trained to identify
those people earlier which means they can be given basic training before they
reach an employer."

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