Young People (Employment or Training)

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 26 January 2015.

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Photo of Chris White Chris White Conservative, Warwick and Leamington 2:30, 26 January 2015

What recent steps he has taken to support young people seeking employment or training.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

The youth claimant count is at its lowest level since the 1970s and this is due to the action that the Government have taken. Young persons entering a Jobcentre will receive tailored support from their work coach and be directed to work experience, sector-based work academies or locally funded support.

Photo of Chris White Chris White Conservative, Warwick and Leamington

I am delighted to say that the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in Warwick and Leamington claiming JSA has fallen by 79% since April 2010. However, I recognise that there is still more work to do. Does the Minister agree that schools and businesses can develop strong partnerships, not least in terms of providing work experience? What incentives can the Government provide to encourage those relationships and highlight the benefits that they can offer?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

My hon. Friend is right—it is about building relationships between businesses and schools, and that is what we have done with some of the biggest businesses. We set up Movement to Work, which created 100,000 work experience schemes. Another scheme, Feeding Britain’s Future, provided another 15,000 work experience places and, in the west midlands alone, there are more than 16,000. Last week, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education created the new careers support scheme, which is also working with companies, schools and individuals.

Photo of Adam Afriyie Adam Afriyie Chair, Members' Expenses Committee, Chair, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, Chair, Members' Expenses Committee

It lifts my heart to see so many more people in employment across Windsor and the country. All hon. Members share the vision of a country in which the circumstances of our birth do not determine where we end up. I commend the Secretary of State on his work on welfare reform, and does the Minister agree that we must continue to push on with those changes so that social mobility in Britain is boosted once again?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

My hon. Friend is right about social mobility. He is also the living embodiment of it, as he comes from a council estate in south London, son of a single mum with many mouths to feed. He then set up a multi-million pound business and won young entrepreneur of the year from Ernst and Young. The Government have provided support and encouragement, creating the sort of environment in which people like my hon. Friend can develop their businesses and employ other people.