Letter: Obliging the unemployed to train without obliging society to provide them with jobs

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The Independent Online
Sir: The debate about 'workfare' is ignoring one group of unemployed people who are trying to improve their employability - by studying in further education colleges while still claiming benefit under the DSS regulations. How ironic it is that this group is the one that suffers constant pressure from the Social Security system. Indeed, jobless people are often forced to withdraw from courses in order to prove that they are still 'available for work' - work that either does not exist, or is unskilled and temporary.

A major contribution to increasing the motivation of unemployed people, and raising the skills levels of the workforce, would be made if we encouraged people who have been unemployed for a considerable time to enrol without loss of benefit on courses (limited, perhaps, to one year or less) to improve their qualifications; and allowed them to complete the course without harassment.

Yours sincerely,


Principal, Lambeth College

London, SE27