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Government work scheme gets a small number of Gloucestershire workers in to permanent jobs

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

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CALLS have been made for more links between businesses and schools after a flagship government scheme to get people long term jobs was roundly criticised by a spending watchdog.

Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions showed that of 1,760 people in Gloucester who had started the Work Programme since its launch last year, only 40 had stayed in employment for six months or more.

This represents just 2.3 per cent and fell short of the minimum target of 5.5 per cent.

The rest of the county fared little better. Data for the 14 months from June 2011 to July 2012, showed in the Cotswolds just 10 people out of 310 found a job for six months or more (0.8 per cent of those on the programme), in Cheltenham it was 20 out of 1,270 (1.6 per cent), Forest of Dean 20 out of 800 (2.5 per cent), Stroud 30 out of 700 (4.3 per cent), and Tewkesbury 10 out of 510 (2 per cent).

Cheltenham Business Partnership manager Martin Quantock said there maybe a disparity between the skills required and those that job hunters have. "I would argue that there needs to be more co-ordination of the business and education sectors, to get the right people for the right jobs," he said.

Nationally, figures showed only 3.6 per cent of those taking part – 31,000 out of nearly 900,000 – had found sustainable jobs. The scheme was launched in June 2011, at an estimated cost of between £3 billion and £5 billion over five years, with the aim of getting the long-term unemployed back into work.

Under the scheme, approved providers including firms and charities try to find work for claimants on a payment-by-results basis. Organisations can earn between £3,700 and £13,700 per person, depending how hard it is to help an individual, with an initial payment of between £400 and £600.

Following criticism from the Public Accounts Committee, the Government argued it is "early days" and the programme was succeeding in getting people off benefits.

Gloucester City Council business ambassador Fred Wood said the figures were "slightly disappointing".

"I would support schemes that would improve that figure," he said.

"I welcome anything that can be done in the business community to create real jobs."

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  • Coingrass  |  February 23 2013, 10:22PM

    I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time but the govt must stop pretending that this programme is having any real effect. It may have started as a flagship programme but it's turned into a bum-boat of an effort. The only people who are getting jobs that they wouldn't have got anyway are the staff of the firms contracted to run the programme, while the senior managers of these companies are creaming off millions of pounds of tax payers' money for old rope. Time to pull the plug and put what's left of the budget to better use.

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  • 59-nigel  |  February 23 2013, 10:04AM

    Im not surprised the work programme is failing as schemes like this won't be successful unless there's more jobs available. I'm all for the unemployed, especially the long term and youngsters gaining work experience and being supported to improve their chances of gaining employment, but in all honesty this programme is a complete waste of money. It's been shown that more people have a better chance of finding employment on their own than through schemes like this. A freind of mine made redundant last August and who has never been out of work before has been put on to the work programme against his wishes and although he doesn't require any help in his job search, doesn't get any anyway. He has to attend 3 full days a week, an hour a day of which is spent being lectured about responsibility and the importance of work by a young man of 23. My freind is 57, has kids and owns his own home and in all the years I've known him, he has always been responsible and hard working. The rest of the time he and 17 others, most of whom have a long work record and are in a similier position as himself are left in a room with 3 battered computors and newspapers. I really don't see the sense in it, the providers get their £400 referrel fee and most offer no support after that.

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