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Jobseeker’s Allowance: Work Experience

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps Jobcentre Plus takes to provide access to work experience for jobseeker’s allowance claimants aged (a) between 16 and 24 years and (b) 25 years and over when they have been claiming the allowance for (i) less than six months and (ii) between six and 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (297404)

There are a number of ways in which someone receiving jobseeker’s allowance can undertake work experience.

As part of the Backing Young Britain measures announced on 29 July 2009, we will be introducing arrangements early next year to make two-week work experience opportunities available to jobseekers aged 18 to 21 who have been on jobseeker’s allowance for three months. They will remain entitled to jobseeker’s allowance. We also committed as part of Backing Young Britain to increase the number of graduate and non-graduate internships available to young people, with 10,000 internship and work experience opportunities for non-graduates, and a total of 20,000 graduate internships.

The Budget announced a guaranteed offer of a job, work-focused training, or meaningful activity to all 18 to 24-year-olds before they have reached the 12 month stage of their claim to jobseeker’s allowance. The substantial new work experience opportunity will be available through the introduction of the Community Task Force, in early 2010. Under the Six-Month Offer in place since April 2009 for all jobseekers reaching six months receipt of jobseeker’s allowance there is a voluntary work placement option.

Under the mandatory New Deals and Flexible New Deal work experience is part of the activity that all jobseekers must undertake at the appointed stage of their claim. For those aged 18 to 24 entering New Deal for Young People mandatory work experience will begin after 10 months of unemployment. For those entering New Deal 25 Plus mandatory work experience commences after about 21 months. In Flexible New Deal there is no age distinction and work experience can begin at the outset of the provision as part of personalised support.

Jobseeker’s allowance is normally payable to people aged 18 and over, up to state pension age. In exceptional circumstances, people aged 16 and 17 may receive jobseeker’s allowance but along with other young people aged 16 to 19 they will usually be supported by Connexions in England and its equivalents in Scotland and Wales.