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UK News

Christian charity welcomes government's unemployment 'boot camp'

The Christian charity, which oversees the SPEAR course looking to help young people back into work, has been speaking to Premier as ministers unveil a new strategy to tackle rising unemployment rates.

Anyone between 18 and 21 who has been out of work for six months will be ordered to take part in back-to-work 'boot camps' or risk losing their benefits.

The facts:

- 1.85 million unemployed in UK
- Up 25,000 on last quarter
- 16% of 16-24 year olds out of work

Speaking to Premier, Jo Rice, Managing Director of Resurgo said: "It's encouraging to see that the government's paying attention to the fact that young people need some help in getting work.

"It's not just a case of putting them in front of opportunities...they need more support than that."

But speaking about the idea that the young people will be forced to attend, she told Premier: "Just mandating someone onto a programme does not mean they learn.

"We've all been to courses that we haven't wanted to go to and we've come away having not learnt because we were determined not to. [The government] may well face that problem."

The government says the 71 hour course will include practising job applications and interview techniques as well as an extensive job search. A dedicated work coach will work with jobseekers and continuously review what was achieved during the initial 3-week work course.

Speaking about the 'boot camp', Paymaster General and Cabinet Office Minister, Matthew Hancock said: "We are determined to fulfil our commitments to end the welfare culture that is embedded in some of Britain's most vulnerable communities.

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"By working across government to make sure that every young person is in work or training, by opening up 3 million more apprenticeships, expanding traineeships, and making sure that a life on benefits is simply not an option, we want to end rolling welfare dependency for good, so welfare dependency is no longer passed down the generations.

"We are absolutely committed to ending long-term youth unemployment and building a country for workers, where nobody is defined by birth and everyone can achieve their potential."

Acting shadow work and pensions secretary and Christian MP Stephen Timms said the plans aren't the right course of action and called on the Government to do more to create jobs and apprenticeships for young people.

He said: "After five years of the Tories, youth unemployment remains unacceptably high and young people are three times more likely to be out of work than the overall population.

"We urgently need more and better training to skill young people up, but the Government needs to do far more to make sure there are jobs and apprenticeships at the end of it so that these young people can build a future."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speaking to Jo Rice on the News Hour:

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