The Tories are on the rampage again this time announcing changes for young unemployed Brits. Those aged 18–20 years will be sent on a three-week work ‘bootcamp’ or face losing their benefits. Ministers says that they will be ‘put through their paces’ for 71 hours with a dedicated coach to help them find work within six months. According to cabinet office minister, Matt Hancock, the scheme would create a ‘no excuses’ culture to tackle the ‘tragic cycle’ of long-term youth unemployment and welfare dependency. However robust it is meant to sound, it is bullying and marginalising. The Government has continually labelled youth negatively, as uneducated and unemployable. In reality the Government is responsible for much of this.
The scheme will teach literacy and soft skills which are necessary to a get job. Surely this identifies that our education system needs more money spent on it. The curriculum would also need to be changed to address this in the school years. If we can provide funding to bail out banks, surely we owe our youth this much.
Instead of alienating young people, the Government should incentivise them. Unemployment is a waste of human life and resources. There are identified skill shortages, such as bricklaying that young Brits can be trained to do. I believe this can be achieved whilst they are on benefit in partnership with businesses. The home building example is pertinent not only for the skill shortage but because a much needed growth in property development will provide jobs. There are insufficient employment opportunities in many areas outside of London.
The Tory sound bites might seem like vote winners but at a cost to the self esteem of the young. In principle I agree that we should give more help to our youth. I feel to get the best out of young people we should cajole and encourage, not stop their benefits. It would be wrong to punish them for the inadequate funding of schools or mismanagement of the labour market that are beyond their control.