CYPN reports that the government plans to make ‘workless young people attend employment ‘boot camps’.
Out of work young people between the ages of 18 and 21 will be placed on an intensive activity programme within the first three weeks of submitting a benefit claim.
Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock said the new “boot camp” will aim to get young people work-ready within six months. The intensive course will involve practising job applications and interviews, with progress regularly reviewed by a “dedicated job coach”. Hancock said the cross-government Earn or Learn Taskforce he chairs will create a “no excuses” culture to support youth employment.
Firstly I am sometimes accused of being over the top in declaring that government policies towards young people are authoritarian. I rest my case. Secondly I am close to vomiting at the weary proposal that all will turn out well if young people practise filling in job applications and attending interviews, even if now guided by the obligatory lifestyle coach. We were overdoing this stuff forty years ago on bloody school-leavers’ courses. The issue remained then and now, although it’s got much worse – not young people’s failings, but the failure to create sufficient job opportunities.
As it is our friend, Alan Mackie has knocked out an immediate and relevant response on his blog, Boot Camps for the Young Unemployed.
We know that young people’s entry into the world of work is bounded by and hindered by many factors, including, amongst others, poverty, family disadvantage, localised unemployment, disability, discrimination and not least – a genuine shortage of opportunities which welcome young entrants into the labour market. Not to mention the evidence which shows that an increasingly common experience for many young people is moving in and out of temporary, part-time or zero hours ‘McJobs’ and/or moving in and out of training and employment schemes or short term educational courses. Again, it is worth repeating, the evidence tells us young people *want* to work. What is needed is not a bigger stick, but genuine help for young people struggling in an increasingly fragmented and flexiblised employment market. Unfortunately that seems a million miles away when we hear of boot camps.
Boot camps? Can it get any worse?