Welfare, Work and Young People calls for an overhaul of the way that the Government provides benefits, employment support and advice to young people. The paper says that the Government should do more to differentiate welfare support for people under 25, trialling Youth Employment Centres which would operate separately from the rest of the jobcentre, and provide specialist advice to young people.
These youth employment centres would be allowed to change the way sanctions are applied: low level breaches could be changed so they do not incur a financial penalty, while additional requirements (like signing on daily or volunteering in the local community) could be made a condition of claiming their benefits. The paper says that these new jobcentres should build on the success of youth unemployment centres already in place in Ipswich and Brighton.
The report sets out a number of other ideas to improve the network of support for young people who are not in work or education.
- Tailor the Government’s new Youth Obligation so that young people are being trained to work in sectors that have a large number of vacancies.
- Mandate Jobcentre Districts to develop an employer engagement plan that assesses the skills gaps in the local economy and require new youth jobcentres to track the destinations of young people leaving employment support programmes.
- Prioritise the Government’s new funding for relationship support on teenage couples with children.