Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Work Experience’ Category

NEET numbers increase , Mass Youth Unemployment Stays.

with 60 comments

IPT02 Matrix Facebook and LinkedIn v41

Apparently, well who would have guessed, all is not well for young people.

I particularly would not like to be an out of work young person.

The Financial Times reported this a couple of days ago,

More young Britons out of work and education

Neets who remain adrift of the system become increasingly unemployable.

The number of young people in Britain who spend long periods neither working nor studying has increased in the past year, according to a think-tank report. The total share of 16- to 24-year-olds who spent some time not in employment, education or training (Neets) declined last year, according to an analysis of Office for National Statistics data by the Learning and Work Institute think-tank, published on Wednesday. But the analysis showed that the percentage of young people who were Neet for a year or more rose from 9.8 per cent to 11.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the first quarter of last year.

Educated myself through FE’s – both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels (part-time) I found the report published on the 3rd of August in this journal, Further Education News, particularly relevant.

For a start the article underlines this, “Nearly 2 million young people between 16-24 spent some time NEET last year. “

Without being too rude about those providing the courses for young people I hope they are not of the order we older unemployed lot have had to undergo, thanks to SEETEC and the other chancers in the ‘Unemployed business” and do some serious stuff at FE colleges. 

NEET numbers increase as progress on youth unemployment stalls

FE News.

Progress in tackling youth unemployment has ground to a halt with more young people spending over 12 months out of education, employment or training (NEET) raising concerns over the government’s approach.

Reductions in the headline figure of NEETs are cited by the government as evidence of its success in tackling youth unemployment with the latest quarterly figures claiming NEET levels at 800,000 (11.2%) – a 68,000 reduction on the same quarter last year.

But the latest Youth Jobs Index from Impetus-PEF reveals that the number of young people who are NEET for over a year has increased sharply since they reported the figure last year.

Commenting on the findings of the second Youth Jobs Index, Andy Ratcliffe, CEO of Impetus-PEF – a charity that finds, funds and builds the most promising charities working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them become stronger organisations, said:

“We’ve just come away from an election where the youth vote counted, but our findings show there are still crippling numbers of young people not in education, employment or training who aren’t being counted at all. The headline drop in the number of young people who are neither earning or learning next to the increase in the numbers who are enduring this for over a year, confirms that we have structural problem in Britain that has not gone away.”

Using data produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the Labour Force Survey, (LFS) the Youth Jobs Index provides a detailed picture of young people’s experiences of being NEET. Unlike the LFS though, it tracks the progress of young people over time rather than giving a quarterly “snapshot”. This means that the index is better placed to track the duration that young people stay NEET.

And,

Nearly 2 million young people between 16-24 spent some time NEET last year. One in 10 young people (811,000) spent a year or more not in education or work, an increase from the 714,000 who spent more than 12 months NEET in the previous year.

The negative consequences of being long-term NEET are well known, with those affected experiencing poor mental and physical health and a reduction of £225,000 to their future earning potential.

The risk of being NEET varies depending on qualifications. Young people who fail to secure a Level 2 qualification are twice as likely to be long-term NEET. In contrast, for higher level qualifications there is only a 10 per cent risk of being NEET for six months and a 3 per cent risk of spending 12 months NEET.

Learning and Work Institute

Read more here.

These include  comments from the government which few will be arsed to read….

I have yet to find a Labour Party comment on this report.

Perhaps somebody can enlighten us about Labour policy.

 

Advertisements

Written by Andrew Coates

August 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

News From the Welfare Front, from Boycott Workfare to Universal Credit.

with 63 comments

Image result for boycott workfare

Boycott Workfare, the admirable campaign group against government schemes for unpaid work for the out-of-work, has resurfaced with a chapter in a book published by Pluto Press.

A new book chapter using testimonies compiled by Boycott Workfare exposes the violent impact of forced labour.

When we talk about what’s wrong with workfare, we often mention the horrifying material impact on people’s lives of the benefit sanctions that underwrite it. The political impact of unwaged work is also important – the way it attacks workplace rights and destroys our freedom. And workfare is psychologically violent and humiliating: it is coerced labour that’s supposed to build skills and motivation but obviously does nothing apart from offer free work to businesses and charities.

Now, in a freely available chapter of The Violence of Austerity, just published by Pluto Press, the accounts of 97 people who were on workfare schemes between 2011 and 2015 show how workfare is not only ruthlessly exploitative, but can also mean being forced into dangerous work in which health and safety laws are violated as a matter of routine. As the authors write:

If being employed in workfare schemes can be read as a forced and therefore violent process in itself, it should also be read as a process that contains the potential for a different type of violence: the violence that confronts workers when they are told to stand in the cold, to lift heavy loads that they physically cannot lift, or to endure other forms of physical and psychological degradation.

‘The violence of workfare’ documents 64 concrete allegations of breaches of health and safety legislation, at 43 workfare exploiters across the UK – in charities, social enterprises, maintenance companies and discount stores, as well as in environmental, agricultural and recycling projects. The first-hand accounts that the chapter is based on were all submitted to Boycott Workfare via the name and shame section of this website. These ‘employers’ benefited from 1,139 weeks of forced labour from the 97 people whose testimonies are included. That’s almost 22 years of coerced, unpaid labour.

These testimonies make clear how people have been forced to carry out hard labour or heavy lifting, despite existing medical conditions which make this work agony. The testimonies reveal how people have been denied access to protective equipment, and how people have been exposed to dust, chemicals and other hazards. In some cases, these accounts document how organisations have refused workfare conscripts access to food or water, and denied them even short breaks.

At the same time, the testimonies collected together in this chapter provide evidence of workfare exploiters threatening to ‘sack’ people who don’t work fast enough, or try to complain or try to gather evidence of the conditions they are being forced to operate in. People on workfare face being sanctioned if they are unwilling to work in unsafe conditions or if they take any kind of action to draw attention to these conditions.

And some workfare exploiters, it is made clear, are more than willing to exploit the fear that the sanctions regime generates to try and force people to accept dangerous working conditions. That same fear is used to ensure as much management control over workfare conscripts as possible. ‘The fear of sanction can intensify and generate yet more unreasonable demands from employers,’ the authors write. ‘Workfare, as a form of forced labour, effectively permits employers to breach health and safety laws with impunity’. Dangerous working conditions are an effect of unfree labour, compelled by the threat of sanctions.

But we can fight.

We are all entitled to the same basic health and safety protections in workplaces, and in the next few weeks, Boycott Workfare is aiming to bring out a ‘know your health and safety rights leaflet’ that can be used to provide information on these rights, and how to challenge dangerous conditions. And we must continue to name and shame exploiters, and expose the conditions in which they force people to work. Public pressure works, and now that workfare exploiters can no longer hide behind anonymity, we can consign workfare to history.

‘The violence of workfare’, by Jon Burnett and David Whyte, is available for free here. You can read more about the chapter, and the rest of the book, in this article from Disability News Service.

Background:

Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive social security.

We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact.

We expose the companies and organisations profiting from workfare and we take action against them. We encourage organisations to pledge to boycott workfare. We inform people of their rights at the jobcentre and we provide information to support claimants challenging workfare and sanctions.

Boycott Workfare is not a front for any political party, or affiliated with any political party. Anyone who shares our aims is welcome to get involved. Email us: info@boycottworkfare.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, Boycott Workfare do not currently have the capacity to take on casework. We recommend that claimants contact local organisations for one-to-one advice and support.

Meanwhile on the Universal Credit front….

Public Finance.

Council housing managers have urged the government to halt the rolling introduction of Universal Credit, which they said is causing “considerable hardship” to tenants.

The National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) also called on ministers to scrap the seven-day waiting period for new claims.

They said that almost four years on from the initial introduction of Universal Credit “our research shows that delays in the assessment process, poor communications between DWP and landlords, and the seven-day wait period continue to cause significant problems to both landlords and their tenants”.

Rent arrears among Universal Credit claimants remained “stubbornly high” at 73% – equivalent to £6.68m – and 40% of households had accumulated arrears as a consequence of claiming.

Meanwhile, households faced mounting debts, as the average arrears for Universal Credit claimants had increased from £611.73 in March 2016 to £772.21 a year later.

NFA managing director Eamon McGoldrick said: “We are strongly urging government/DWP to halt the roll out of UC and ‘pause for thought’ until the system works properly for both claimants and landlords.”

The NFA and ARCH said their members generally supported the principles of Universal Credit and had launched initiatives to support tenants into work.

But they warned: “It is clear that support provided to tenants by landlords alone is not sufficient to resolve the problems being experienced and is not scalable as the roll out accelerates across the country and many more families and children become a part of the Universal Credit system.”

ARCH chief executive John Bibby said: “If the level of intensive support needed to vulnerable tenants is to be sustained during the planned rollout additional resources are essential.”

He also called for provision of a transition fund to enable landlords to support vulnerable tenants.

The DWP defines Universal Credit as support for people on low incomes or out of work, intended to ensure they are better off in work than on benefits.

It replaces: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; income-related employment and support allowance; income support; working tax credit; child tax credit; housing benefit.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 27, 2017 at 3:02 pm

I Million Hits for Ipswich Unemployed Action.

with 48 comments

Tossed by the Waves We Will Not Sink: We Stand Together By Our Banner.

I Million Hits for Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Today we have reached a watershed: 1,000,097 hits (16.15 Tuesday).

Ipswich Unemployed Action was founded in 2009.

The Site was created by two people, myself, and a young chap from Ipswich.

The intention was to describe what it’s like being unemployed, and to criticise the various “schemes” put in place to to deal with us.

The aim was to let out of work people say what they think about the way officials and the ‘unemployment business’ treat us – not what we’re told to say.

A bit like the alternative community newspapers of the 1970s,

We have always considered the comments to be the most important part of the Ipswich Unemployed Action site.

We also link to numerous Blogs, notably the always essential reading, the Void.

And a range of people on Twitter, such as I’m a JSA claimant @imajsaclaimant

Welfare Weekly has become important as well.

Apart from the fact that many posts come from people writing here – as well as from people I know in Ipswich – it’s the kind of open and up front things people come out with, the information we exchange with each other, that have given this site its special flavour.

Ipswich Unemployed Action has featured in Private Eye, the Sunday Times, and on Radio Suffolk.

We  have been asked by countless other news organisations for information.

My mate from one of the Ipswich estates – produced some of the best posts ever.

But we think that it’s our readers and commentators who matter most.

We have participated in the protests organised by groups such as the  DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), and more recently UNITE Community.

I urge everybody to join UNITE Community – it’s there for the unemployed, for all of us.

This was an important one (2014): Iain Duncan Smith Greeted with Shouts of ‘Murderer’ as he visits Ipswich.

We support the great Boycott Workfare campaign.

Always with strong links to the Unemployed Workers’ Centres we have attended national meetings at the TUC – the most recent being in 2015, the TUC Welfare Conference: Action on Sanctions and Workfare!

We back this:

The Charter promotes:

  • A Political commitment to full employment achieved with decent jobs..
  • A wage you can live on for all and a social security system that works to end poverty.
  • No work conscription – keep volunteering voluntary.
  • Representation for unemployed workers.
  • Appoint an Ombudsman for claimants.
  • Equality in the labour market and workplace; equality in access to benefits.
  • And end to the sanctions regime and current Work Capability Assessment – full maintenance for the unemployment and underemployed.
  • State provision of high quality information, advice and guidance on employment, training and careers.

This what we said on our founding (May 2009)

Who is sticking up for the Unemployed? Not many. Who is the best placed to do so? Those out of work.  Ipswich Unemployed Action is a group of out-of-work local people determined to stand up for our rights.

What are we up against?

  • The abuses of the ‘New Deal’ scheme. Those who sign-on here know that the YMCA is getting paid to lock up over 150  people in a shed – ‘Dencora House’, doing ‘job search’ all day. They know the conditions they have to endure – treated like children, no proper facilities (computers, even enough toilets).  There are no placements. If they complain they are threatened with being ‘exited’ – losing all benefits.
  • The coming ‘Flexible New Deal’ will be even worse. We intended to expose the company who’s won the local contract A4e – its links with shady senior politicians (step forward David Blunkett), and its record of abusing New Deal participants.
  • Workfare will be a con – forced labour for our dole with private contractors coining it in.

What do we want?

  • We want the minimum wage for any ‘voluntary’ work they make us do.
  • There should be an independent appeal and monitoring system – open to all – for anyone on the ‘New Deal’. Not the present shambles,
  • We want real training, not the YMCA etc sham.
  • Above all we want to be treated as human beings – not things the DWP and Government Ministers can claim rights over. We should have rights, and we want them now!
  • And now, we want the Dencora House  detention centre closed down!

Any suggestions? Join us. All welcome.

This what happened in June 2009: Banned For Blog: YMCA Suppresses Dissent.

WARNING: THIS BLOG IS DANGEROUS!

This morning I went to Dencora House, Ipswich. For my ‘New Deal’ induction at YMCA Training. A little while in and I was summoned. YMCA manager and colleague. Copies of this Blog, and the Ipswich Unemployed Action’s, on the table. Nervous type. Points to print-out. Picture of medieval Bastille. Legend, “Storm Dencora House“. Liked he it not. Or calling it a “detention centre”. Oh dear. Next, famous (hundreds of viewings), New Deal: YMCA Training, A Major Scandal.

Finally, their account of  this,

“I have placed this website as the Home Page on all computers at Dencora House today. Hopefully some of my fellow detainees here will read it. There has also been print outs of your articles left around the centre. The staff have been going round ripping them off the walls. They then get put up again.

People who merely found this site as the home page have been undertaking these actions on their own. Hopefully more people will involve themselves in such sabotage. If we make it too much hassle for them to treat us like this then they will be forced to stop!”

The upshot is I face being suspended from all benefits for exercising my (see YMCA Induction Pack), “freedom of conscience”. Apparently human rights do not apply to the out-of-work on the New Deal. Still no doubt they’ll find some way of justifying themselves. YMCA Mission Statement, “Motivated by its Christian faith, YMCA Training’s mission is to inspire individuals to develop their talents and potential and so transform the communities in which they live and work.” Needs some creative re-writing.

Oh yes, one of our many invisible supporters  tells us that they’ve blocked their computers’ access to our Blog.

I was reinstated pretty quickly and the YMCA ended up treating me decently.

You wonder what would happen today with the rules they have brought in.

Indeed little did I realise that the YMCA turned out to be sweeties compared to what has happened since.

Particularly after the Liberal-Tory Coalition.

Iain Duncan Smith has stalked the land seeking out poor people to oppress, unelashing the DWP ‘sanction regime’.

The Cameron government has lost no opportunity to let their mates in the ‘unemployment business’  pick the pockets of the state and make the lives of the unemployed a misery.

These are some of more recent best viewed posts:

Is it Compulsory to Register with Universal Jobmatch? What Evidence of Jobsearch do we have to provide? 2015.

35 Hours JobSearch: We Publish the Mad DWP Guidelines. 2014.

Universal Jobmatch – List of fake ’employers’ (Part 1)  2014.

This video shows what we stand for:  we stand together, we never give up!

 

Work Experience Week: Give Workfare a Warm Welcome!

with 16 comments

Work Experience Week 2015

WEWeek2015
This year’s Work Experience Week will take place from 12th-16th October. Register here to be kept up to date!

What is Work Experience Week?

A week dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of high quality work experience. Work Experience Week aims to get all parties involved in work experience to celebrate its full potential. It’s a chance for employers, learning providers and young people to showcase the positive work they are doing and encourage more organisations to realise the benefits of work experience.

Currently only 1 in 4 employers offer work experience and we don’t think that’s good enough. Work Experience Week aims to increase the quantity and quality of work experience programmes, including Traineeships, Apprenticeships and Internships.

The Void comments, in a moderate tone in our opinion,

The vile welfare-to-work sector are teaming up with a DWP controlled front organisation this week to hold a celebration of all the money they are making out of unpaid work.

The inaptly named Fair Train are funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, a government body under the control of both the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Iain Duncan Smith himself.  Despite their name, this so-called charity exists to promote unpaid Work Experience schemes, by flogging off dubious Quality Standard awards to workfare exploiters.  In 2013 they were paid a whopping £283,000 of tax payer’s money to promote unpaid work schemes.

Week Experience Week is part of this gushing celebration of exploitation, so it is no suprise to see ERSA, the trade body established to lie on behalf on the welfare-to-work sector, joining in the festivities.  Fair Trade say that want others to get involved with Work Experience Week, with aim of encouraging as many companies as possible to stop paying wages and start using workfare.  You can let the bastards know what you think on twitter using the hashtag #WEWeek2015.

You might care to sponsor this event:

Sponsor packages.

Work Experience Week headline sponsor –£10,000.

There a lot to celebrate during the bean-feast:

Themes for the week

This year’s Work Experience Week will focus on the different types of work experience available to learners. By highlighting the different types of work experience we aim to inspire and educate more organisations to offer high quality placements. Here’s what we’ve got planned:

Monday – Traineeships
Tuesday – Interns
Wednesday – Volunteering
Thursday – Apprenticeships
Friday – Work experience at school or college
Get involved using #WEWeek2015 and don’t forget to submit your plans by completing our editable plan in our toolkit for a chance to be featured in our newsletter.

Work Experience Week Champions.

Sarah Hewson – Presenter, the Trusted and Reliable Sky News
@skynewssarah

I’m a passionate supporter of Work Experience Week because I wouldn’t be where I am today without work experience. It was a placement at Sky News that led to my first job there 13 years ago and work experience at a local newspaper aged 15 that convinced me journalism was the career path I wanted to pursue.

I’m now proud to be an ambassador for Sky Academy which aims to give opportunities to a million young people by 2020.

Don Hayes – Trustee, Fair Train Unpaid Work schemes.
@Don_Enable

When it comes to improving the employability of young people and long term unemployed adults, nothing can make a bigger difference than good quality work experience. I know this is true because I have seen it over many years, with a whole range of different groups, with both young people having just left school and adults who have been out of the workplace for a while.

Work experience provides something positive for the CV, enables individuals to regain or learn the habits and attitudes of work but most of all it really builds self-esteem and confidence.

Suggestions for twitter welcome.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Iain Duncan Smith in Stout Denial on Failure of his Welfare ‘reforms’.

with 77 comments

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/files/2014/02/ids1.jpg

Anything Wrong? Not my Fault Says Iain Duncan Smith.

The Guardian publishes a long interview with Iain Duncan Smith today,

This is worth noting,

Duncan Smith said that Britain’s welfare system – in particular the way in which the pay packets of the low-paid are topped up through tax credits – worsened the problem of dependency by reducing incentives to work. His grand idea, worked on in opposition at his Centre for Social Justice thinktank, and introduced when he came to power, was to encourage people into work by merging out-of-work benefits and in-work support into one monthly payment, known as universal credit. The new system is meant to encourage the low-paid to work longer hours by slowing the pace at which benefits are withdrawn, known as tapering, so that people will receive more of the extra money they earn.

Transferred from the seminar rooms of thinktanks to the reality of Whitehall, universal credit has been subject to numerous delays and criticised by various select committees, although it is now in operation in 54% of jobcentres and will be in 100% of them by next spring. But Duncan Smith is unapologetic about his mission. “What I have tried to set out, from universal credit right the way through, is have a look at the problem, figure out what the problem is, and try to get a system – which, after all, is on a huge scale – at least able to cope with individuals and people, and have the scope to be able to rectify issues and problems. There will always be problems and issues.”

As he prepares to travel to Manchester for the Conservative party conference, Duncan Smith is opening a new front on welfare reform as he outlines reforms to the WCAs. These were blamed by Mary Hassell, the coroner who conducted the inquest into the death of O’Sullivan, for acting as the “trigger” for his suicide.

There follows a lengthy defence of the changes to the  out-of-work employment support allowance (ESA) and the new “fit for work”  programme, and the DLA tests.

For those unwilling to go through this the Guardian also states in a handy form the main points of Iain Duncan Smith’s self-justification in the following key areas.

 

He used the interview to defend:

  • work capability assessment (WCA), the much-criticised gateway to the main out-of-work disability benefit, the employment support allowance (ESA), which is claimed by 2.5 million people. The five-year-old WCA has been plagued by backlogs, lengthy appeals and, according to Duncan Smith, is too binary in deciding whether someone is fit or not fit for work.
  • Defend the planned removal of an income measure from the child poverty target, saying it is better to measure and target the underlying causes of poverty such as educational attainment and family stability.
  • Reject criticisms of his department’s benefit sanctions system, saying he did not know of any jobcentre staff “flinging around sanctions”. He said: “There are a bunch of Labour MPs who hate sanctions and they don’t want them at all. I can understand that. I don’t agree with it because I think our system is predicated on this idea that there is a deal taking place.”The number of jobseeker allowance (JSA) sanctions has gone down by 380,000 over the past year to 507,000.

It would be interesting to know the details about these claims, particularly of the sanction figures. You can look up the latter yourself, but it’s hard going to try to work out the neat total Iain Duncan Smith offers: Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance sanctions: decisions made to March 2015. It is clearly the case that the massive expansion of sanctions has ended. But are they back to former levels? Are they reasonable?

No.

Why is there such a massive variation in numbers?

Are there simply 380,000 thousand people fewer who are now obedient and eager to fulfil their ‘obligations’?

This shows something fundamentally wrong with the sanction system.

And anybody who thinks that making 507,000 people suffer extreme poverty is a success has something wrong with them.

The Guardian was too tactful – or too ill-informed – to bother to ask IDS about his failing Work Programme and Workfare plans. Or the kind of the fraud and failure they are wrapped up in.

This, by contrast, is without doubt a true observation:

Duncan Smith can expect to be cheered to the rafters at the Conservative conference for sounding tough on welfare. There will no doubt be an appetite for his decision earlier in the summer to scrap the government’s child poverty target and to replace it with a new duty to report worklessness, addiction and educational attainment.

‘Boot’ – Camps for Young Unemployed.

with 27 comments

‘Work Coach’ for Young People. 

I am beginning to think that some of the contributors to this site are right to make comparisons with the 1930’s forced labour schemes.

Unemployed young people will be sent to work boot camp, says minister

Reports the Guardian today

Matt Hancock says plan for jobseekers between 18 and 21 to be placed on intensive activity programme is not a form of punishment.

“We are penalising nobody because nobody who does the right thing and plays by the rules will lose their benefits,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday. “In fact this is about giving more support to young people.”

The senior Conservative, who heads David Cameron’s earn or learn taskforce, will set out plans for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 to be placed on an intensive activity programme within the first three weeks of submitting a claim.

The new requirements, outlined on Monday, will be in place by April 2017 as part of a wider policy, first announced by Cameron before the election, that jobless 18- to 21-year-olds would be required to do work experience as well as looking for jobs or face losing their benefits.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s criticised the plans, saying that young people needed to feel supported, not punished.

In a challenge to Labour, Hancock has now written to all four leadership candidates urging them to get behind the government’s plans.

…the leftwing frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has explicitly said he would oppose the government’s move to take housing benefit away from 18- to 21-year-olds, while Andy Burnham has also been critical of the policy.

Responding to the announcement, a spokesman for the Corbyn campaign said: “This is another punitive turn by this Conservative government that is failing young people. They have cut further education places, driven a punitive welfare regime that has failed to reduce youth unemployment, and are raising university fees and taking away grants.

“As it takes away opportunities for young people to earn or learn, this government is blaming young people rather than addressing the real problems. It proposes more free labour from the young with fewer rights, and will be resisted by young people and Labour MPs.”

Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall have said welfare cuts need to be approached in a fairer, more Labour way.

Setting out his plans, Hancock suggested some young people were part of a “welfare culture that is embedded in some of Britain’s most vulnerable communities”.

He said: “By working across government to make sure that every young person is in work or training, by opening up three million 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.

“We are absolutely committed to ending long-term youth unemployment and building a country for workers, where nobody is defined by birth and everyone can achieve their potential.”

The idea of boot camps for young people without jobs is not a new one. The Conservative party previously suggested it in 2008, when the then shadow welfare spokesman Chris Grayling announced that the party wanted to “abolish benefit payments for any able-bodied person under 21 who is out of work for more than three months”.

The Independent yesterday carried the initial floating of this plan.

Jobless young people will be made to attend “boot camps” in return for benefits as part of a new Conservative drive to bring a “no excuses” culture to youth employment.

Under the plan, anyone under 21 who is out of work and on benefits will have to take part in a three-week intensive course to help them find employment or training.

They will have to sign up to the programme within a month of claiming benefits – or see those benefits stopped.

The course, which ministers are provocatively describing as a “boot camp”, includes practising job applications and interview techniques. It is expected to take 71 hours to complete and benefits will be dependent on attendance.

Comment:

The Americanism (or cultural cringe to the US) ‘boot camp’ apparently means:

 boot camp

noun

NORTH AMERICAN
  1. a military training camp for new recruits, with very harsh discipline.
    • a prison for young offenders, run on military lines.
    • a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training.
      “a gruelling, late-summer boot camp for would-be football players”

But in fact the language the government and its toady Hancock use has a different origin: it  smells of the ‘get yer hair cut’ 1960s.

Or the kind of pervy old men who like ‘punishing’ youngsters.

We can say one thing for sure: the companies who’ll be running these ‘boot camps’ are some of the biggest chancers and failures in the country – as the evidence from successive New Deals, Work Programmes and all the rest indicates.

What will happen after this bogus ‘training’?

Will there be more forced ‘boot camps’?

Will young people be made to do workfare?

As said above, it looks like our contributors are onto something when they suggest that forced labour,  Zwangsarbeit, is not far off. 

You can vote on this via the ITV site: HERE.

Is it fair to send unemployed youngsters to work ‘boot camps’?
Yes – more needs to be done to get them into workNo – it’s a step too far
 Yes 71.32%  

 

No – it’s a step too far 28.68%  

Written by Andrew Coates

August 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

For Iain Duncan Smith’s Attention: Fate of Motherwell Workfare.

with 15 comments

As Iain Duncan Smith visits Ipswich – after a relaxing afternoon at some posh hotel near Woodbridge tucking into some expensive grub with his Suffolk Tory mates  – here is a story he may be interested in.

Motherwell charity has pulled out of a Government employment programme after being targeted in a ‘slave labour’ protest.

LAMH Recycling says it has been bombarded with abusive messages and its Range Road premises have been vandalised since the Motherwell Times highlighted a daily vigil being carried out by former employee John McArthur.

He has been spending two hours every day standing outside the factory with placards critical of LAMH for taking part in the employment scheme. Participants get a six-month placement but no payment above their usual jobseeker’s allowance.

Mr McArthur (59) said his benefits were stopped after he refused a placement at LAMH where he had worked previously for a wage. He can’t afford to switch on his heating and is ‘living on 16p tins of spaghetti’.

Since our story two weeks ago Mr McArthur has received messages of support and offers of cash from home and abroad, but LAMH said it, in contrast, has been swamped by e-mails and other messages containing abuse and threats.

People on LAMH placements this week lined up to defend the work scheme which, they claim, is improving their chances of finding a job.

One, John Dowdie, said: “It’s completely wrong that the people here are getting hatemail and threats. This is a Government programme and the Jobcentre sent us here. It’s nothing to do with LAMH.”

Joe Fulton, operations and development manager at LAMH, also defended the scheme, saying seven people who signed up in June when it first started have gone on to find jobs elsewhere.

He said the 15 current participants will be allowed to complete their placements, but no more will be taken on.

Mr Fulton stated: “We are not in the business of surviving through slave labour, but it was obvious the people behind this campaign were not going to stop.

“We are forced into this action reluctantly for the protection of the people with us plus the safeguarding of the organisation, which is highly regarded for the good work it has achieved in the local community since 1999.”

Under the scheme, jobless people join the LAMH workforce, whose tasks include repairing computers and collecting materials such as cans and bottles for recycling.

They also get access to telephones and computers to make job applications under the supervision of an employment co-ordinator.

Elaine Tollan, from Craigneuk, gave the scheme her approval.

She said: “I’ve been unemployed for four or five years, but after 14 weeks at LAMH, I feel more motivated to get a job.

“I’m getting unemployment money and I’m fine with that.”

Richard Dawson, from Muirhouse, praised the ‘welcoming’ atmosphere at LAMH and scoffed at the ‘slave labour’ claim.

He said: “Before, I didn’t get out of bed till dinner time. I was very negative about this when I started, but now I feel motivated and confident.

“I don’t think about the money. I come here with a spring in my step. It’s another step towards getting a job and it’s all positive.”

Reports the Motherwell Times.

But, lo, there is more to say on this:

Here is the reply to the latest Motherwell Times article on Lamh Recycle which I cannot get posted on their web site:

“The print version of this article describes people on CWP employment schemes as “recruits” who had “signed up” however, they are not recruited or signed up but ordered under threats of sanctions to work for no wages . One conscript stated in the article that their job prospects were improved by being on a mandatory work activity (MWA) scheme however a DWP report shows that on average “an MWA referral had no impact on the likelihood of being employed compared to non-referrals” (but they can reduce the unemployment count). These schemes bypass minimum wage regulations and not only does the organization get the labour, for which they would otherwise have to pay, for free but they are actually paid by the DWP/agents. None of the charities that I am aware of in Motherwell Town Centre, nor any of the major national charities, participate in the CWP scheme because they believe it to be wrong.

Anyone who wants work experience might consider genuine voluntary work (but check very carefully if the Job Centre will allow it) which appeals more to employers because it shows the person is working through their own free will and it also saves the tax payer a fortune due to the fees paid by the DWP to their agents. Please also note that organizations enter into a contract for taking conscripts knowing full well the nature of the coercion involved (i.e sanctions) so the article isn’t correct to publish the claim that it is the Jobcentre who is doing the forcing and that “it’s nothing to do with LAMH”. It was also very disappointing to read comments purporting to come from happy conscripts which include the stereotypical Benefit St view of unemployed people as being lazy and unable to get up out bed and look for work. This can only cause further distress to their fellow citizens who are now tarred as scroungers and subject to forced labour for the crime of being unemployed through lack of vacancies.

I would also like to thank once again the many people whom I spoke to outside Lamh Recycle premises each morning who (bar one) expressed their support. I also deeply appreciate the extraordinary kindness of people whom I have never met but who have contacted me offering assistance. They keep alive the true spirit of charity, i.e caritas (love), and giving without seeking a fee (or free labour).

John McArthur
Muirhouse
Motherwell”

Written by Andrew Coates

November 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm