Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 4

Memorandum from Newcastle Young Peoples Training and Employment Forum

NEW DEAL 18-24 YEAR OLDS

  New Deals great strength is that it is about individuals needs, and consulting people about what they want and what the Employment Service can and can't provide.

  Unlike the government training schemes by the last Government or proposals by the present opposition party, New Deal is not just a short term fix to hide the real unemployment figures by forcing people into unsuitable and unsatisfactory schemes.

  The Employment Service (ES) management and staff are trying to treat claimants as individuals with skills and talents as well as people needing help to find lasting sustainable work. The Government should not demand the ES meet targets which are not obtainable without pressure and compulsion, because trust is vital.

GATEWAY

  New Deal eligibility entitles the claimant to a New Deal personal advisor, one of the great successes of the personalised service.

  The gateway period has shortfalls, large numbers of claimants are encouraged to apply for jobs which are not New Deal jobs. Unsubsidised jobs already advertised at the Job Centre with up to 30 per cent not lasting 13 weeks compared to subsidised jobs with only 8.5 per cent not lasting for 13 weeks.

  These are not New Deal jobs but of the 216,000 jobs New Deal takes credit for, only 25,000 are new jobs directly set up because of subsidies established by New Deal, 191,000 jobs are unsubsidised and would be in the Job Centre without the subsidies of New Deal.

JOB CREATION AND ELIGIBILITY

  We agree with the Government that people need assistance to become more employable and in the South East of England where unemployment is low this is all that is required, but New Deal requires job creation as well as improved employability in the Tyneside area.

  There are not enough jobs for the newly employable new dealers with their qualification on completing New Deal. 91.5 per cent of subsidised jobs on New Deal last 13 weeks or more, so only 22,650 jobs were created from April 1998 to April 2000 directly by New Deal.

CHANGES REQUIRED

  The Gateway needs to determine how many people are job ready, how many need some assistance to get them job ready, and how many could not hold onto a job if given one because of personal problems? All those in the latter category should be given extensive and wide ranging assistance and removed from any benefit suspension regime as part of their status of having personal problems.

NON-WAGED OPTIONS

  The voluntary sector and environmental task force options are not likely to lead to participants being retained in paid work at the end of a six-month placement and those on these options only receive £15.38 above their benefit. These options are about improving employability, so why can't the Government develop the Intermediate Labour Market System and use funds from the European Social Fund, ESF and Single Regeneration Budgets, SRB, Coalfield Regeneration funding, and New Deal for the communities, to pay those on the increased employability programme £160 per week and make it like a real job, with real wages.

PARITY REQUIRED FOR FTET PARTICIPANTS

  Full time education and training (FTET) option needs re-organising so that any person doing a 12 month programme has automatic and immediate access on completion of education or training and after gaining a qualification to reach the industry standard of qualification to get a job in the occupation they have trained in. FTET involves 72,000 people aged 18 to 24 years old on average at any one given time. It is a massively oversubscribed option, with participants doing 30 hours study or training per week. It is surely wrong that participants receive no income over and above JSA payment, for being in a college or training environment working, studying, constantly being available for 30 hours a week. Our organisation interviewed 43 FTET students at Newcastle college on 11 April 2000, 33 said they had suffered hunger themselves, three others had not personally suffered hunger, but knew of people on their course who had and 40 out of the 43 agreed they should get parity with those on the other non-waged options ie £15.38 per week extra.

  Those who suffer are those who don't have parents who are earning enough to subsidise them while on FTET. Lack of concentration or FTET participants not staying all day because of hunger will lead to many FTET students failing their course or becoming disillusioned and dropping out. FTET can be a good option if hunger is eliminated for all participants and having food as a right not a privilege is enshrined in the principle of FTET.

CONCLUSION

  The Government to be supportive of the Employment Service who want to tailor the New Deal programme to meet the needs of the individual participant.

  The Government should resist setting impossible demands on the Employment Service to meet job outcomes, that require it to pressure participants to take options that they don't want just so that targets set by Government can be met by the Employment Service.

  Job creation must be included in areas of high unemployment, financed by the Government because employability is not enough in their areas and employability without a job can lead to disillusionment by participants who have completed the option and gained a qualification on a New Deal option.

  Compulsion and benefit suspension should never happen to those who have personal problems, which make them ineligible for taking a job. Those who can't get on the top option employment option because too few employers came along and are herded onto ETF or VSO should not have benefit suspended while denied access to the employment option.

  Parity of allowance with all those on non-waged option for FTET. Those on JSA don't have to be at a training centre or college for 30 hours a week and therefore extra payment is required to keep up food intake and avoid dips in concentration because of hunger, £15.38 to be given to all FTET participants as soon as possible.

Newcastles Young Peoples Training and Employment Forum

August 2000


 
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