Unemployed young people to attend job “boot camp” under new government plans

James Nickerson
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Hancock said every young person should be "earning or learning" from April 2017 (Source: Getty)

Young unemployed people will be forced to attend a “boot camp” to help them back into work, under new plans set out by the government today.

The compulsory three-week camp is part of a “no excuses” approach to reducing youth unemployment, said paymaster general Matt Hancock in a statement.

The policy will come into force from April 2017, with an aim to "get claimants work-ready within six months”. It will provide them with “an unprecedented level of support to make sure they are well equipped to find work or training”, Hancock said.

Read more: We need a new approach to tackle youth unemployment - lack of proper skills is strangling productivity growth across EU

From April next year, those aged under 21 will have to take a job, an apprenticeship, a traineeship or work experience to keep receiving benefits.

Within the first three weeks of claiming out-of-work benefit, jobseekers will be required to take up the Intensive Activity Programme to help them move off benefits and into sustainable employment.

Read more: Who do you think is sorting out youth unemployment anyway?

The “Earn or Learn Taskforce”, a new ministerial group chaired by Hancock, also aims to create 3m apprenticeships by 2020, as well as stripping housing benefit for under-21s.

Hancock added:

We are determined to fulfill our commitments to end the welfare culture that is embedded in some of Britain’s most vulnerable communities.

By working across government to make sure that every young person is in work or training, by opening up 3m more apprenticeships, expanding traineeships, and making sure that a life on benefits is simply not an option, we want to end rolling welfare dependency for good, so welfare dependency is no longer passed down the generations.

The intensive programme includes job application practice and interview techniques as well as extensive job search assistance.

Some 738,000 people aged 16-24 were unemployed in the second quarter of 2015, down 38,000 from the same period last year, but flat on the previous quarter, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics.

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