Jobless young people to attend 'boot camps' in 'no excuses' crackdown on youth unemployment

U-21s will have to sign up to programme within a month of claiming benefits

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Indy Politics

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.

The proposal is likely to be attacked by Labour for further stigmatising young people who can’t find work while at the same time making it harder for them claim benefits.

The changes will come into force in April next year and form part of the Government’s wider drive to ensure that all young people are in a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or unpaid work experience.

It is being overseen by a new Earn or Learn Taskforce headed by Matt Hancock, the Cabinet Office minister.

Announcing the plan, Mr Hancock said he was “determined” to end a “welfare culture” that had become embedded in some of Britain’s most vulnerable communities.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Ministers say about 85 per cent of all 16- to 24-year-olds are either in work or in full-time education They also point to research which found that more than 80 per cent of claimants said they would be more likely to follow the rules if they knew their benefits were going to be reduced or stopped.