Work Experience Matching Scheme Launched
Businesses planning to offer work experience placements can quickly find suitable candidates, following the launch of a scheme by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which matches young unemployed people with vacancies.
Organised by JobCentre Plus, the initiative will match unemployed 18- to 21-year-olds with businesses seeking temporary workers. Under the scheme, job seekers can undertake work placements for up to eight weeks without losing their unemployment benefits. Previously, they could only do work experience for a maximum of two weeks before their Jobseeker’s Allowance was withdrawn.
A spokeswoman for the DWP said that the scheme is a “win-win” situation for unemployed youth and businesses.
“Previously, people could only do work experience for a couple of weeks before losing their benefits, which didn’t give them much incentive. So this scheme is better for them and it’s better for business because they get someone working for them for longer.”
“If the business likes the person, they can use the work experience period as a trial and offer them a job at the end of it, and if they don’t they can let them go without the headache of making them redundant.”
Forum of Private Business (FPB) spokesman Phil McCabe said that some small firms would need financial help from the Government in order for the scheme to be effective.
“It may cut out recruitment costs, but firms should receive funding to cover the cost of training, because they need the people they take on to learn some skills for it to be worthwhile.”
McCabe added that the scheme could also benefit small firms indirectly, by improving potential candidates’ skills.
“It’s a big problem for small firms that younger people often don’t have basic workplace skills. If enough people take advantage of the scheme and are equipped with these skills, there will be a better labour market available when they come to recruit.”
Small firms planning to offer a work experience placement should approach their local JobCentre Plus. For more information about the scheme, visit the DWP website or download the guide Could you offer work experience? (PDF)