Work Experience Programme

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th February 2014.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 2:30 pm, 24th February 2014

What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s work experience programme.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Tomorrow, we will publish the Youth Contract claimant survey research, which contains a range of information on claimants’ experiences and an analysis of the early impacts. However, the latest figures showed that we previously had 113,000 people who started work experience and that 50% of them got a job; that there were 21,000 wage incentive starts and that 30,000 people went to sector-based work academies.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

Having run an employment agency before becoming a Member of Parliament, I wonder whether my hon. Friend agrees that, in a tough labour market, work experience provides a useful tool for our young people to gain access to the permanent jobs market. Should we not do everything that we can to enhance the programme?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend, who has such great knowledge in this area, is spot on. Only this morning, I was with a group of young people from Livity, as well as various large employers—Capgemini, Ernst and Young and Tesco—and they all said that it was vital that they had work experience. They felt that they could not get a job without work experience. We have put that in place, and the more people who get on board and support it, the better.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

Work experience can certainly be helpful, but given that the Department has recently published a glowing evaluation of Labour’s future jobs fund, why will the Minister not introduce a jobs guarantee scheme?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

That was certainly a rewrite of history, but Labour is used to doing that. The future jobs fund cost £6,500 per person and had only a 50% success rate, but not in the private sector, because most people did not end up there. The hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that with the work experience programmes and sector-based work academies we are introducing, we are achieving better success rates at one twentieth of the cost—£325 per person.