Between January 2011 and November 2012, about 106,000 young people aged between 18 and 24 received support through Get Britain Working, including work experience and sector-based work academies. Many young people have also benefited from the help offered through volunteering, and work and enterprise clubs.
Job clubs and job fairs play an important role in the Get Britain Working scheme. In Kingswood, as the local Member of Parliament, I have organised four job fairs so far, as well as running a weekly job club. Does my hon. Friend agree that we as MPs have a vital role to play in Get Britain Working by organising job fairs and job clubs and getting our constituents back to work?
My hon. Friend is well known for his support for getting young people into work, and I commend him on the job club and job fairs that he has run. As a result of the collective effort between employers, Members of Parliament, Jobcentre Plus and others, youth unemployment today is lower than it was in May 2010.
Does the Minister not realise that however good some of these programmes are—and some of them are quite good—we are not doing enough? Nearly a million young people are unemployed. There must be more imagination. Could we not agree on a cross-party basis that we must not allow young people to fester in unemployment any longer?
No one should be complacent about the challenge that young people are facing, but I should point out to the hon. Gentleman that, if full-time students are excluded, 66,000 more young people have been in work over the last quarter. We are seeing more progress, but we must not be complacent, and we must not forget that the problem started some time ago.
My hon. Friend is right to point out what an important part of our programme sector-based work academies represent. They provide a combination of work experience, training and a guaranteed job interview. Jobcentre Plus will work closely with employers throughout the country to organise the right type of sector-based work academies, but I encourage Members to work with jobcentres to identify good opportunities in that regard.
A constituent of mine, aged 20, has spent a year and a quarter on the Work programme, and has had six meetings with three different advisers during that time. He still has no job, and has had no job offers. He eventually found a Barnardo’s course, but was told that he would not be allowed to go on it because he was on the Work programme. Is the programme not failing such young people?
I think the hon. Lady should raise issues about training in Scotland with the Scottish Government, who are responsible for it. They will not allow people on the Work programme to go on Scottish Government-funded courses, and I suspect that that is where the problem lies.