From education to employment

As job seeking programme reaches ten year anniversary, Brown says challenge for next decade is empl

The New Deal job-seeking programme has helped someone off benefits and into work every three minutes since its launch ten years ago this week according to the Department of Work and Pensions.

More than 1.8 million people have found a job through the New Deal since its launch in 1998 ““ that’s one person every three minutes, every single day.

The New Deal programme offers a mix of skills training, work experience and tailored advice to help those who have been out of work for six months or more get back into the workforce.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “This week marks ten years of the New Deal, a time for celebration of what has been achieved but also a time for looking ahead to the next 10 years of labour market reform.

“Over its 10 years, more than 1.8 million people have been helped into jobs by the New Deals. An extra 300,000 lone parents in work has helped us lift 600,000 children out of poverty, the numbers on incapacity benefit are falling, while long-term claimant unemployment for young people has been virtually eliminated.

“Now as we look ahead we need a reformed New Deal to help us face the challenges of the next decades. In the old days the problem may have been unemployment, but in the next decades it will be employability. If in the old days lack of jobs demanded priority action, in the new world it is lack of skills. And that means that our whole approach to welfare must move on.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Peter Hain said: “When the New Deal was introduced a decade ago the idea that we could seriously target an 80% employment rate would have been laughable. Yet a decade on we have slashed claimant unemployment almost in half and we are spending £5 billion less on unemployment now than we were in 1997 ““ that’s money we are spending on schools and hospitals.

“But we”re not complacent. Last month we published Ready for Work which set out our plans for a more flexible personalised New Deal with a strong focus on helping the most disadvantaged jobseekers get and sustain work.

“We are also making sure that work pays by introducing a new better-off “in work credit”, which will ensure that all long-term claimants see a significant rise in their incomes when they take a job.

“Work is the best route out of poverty for all groups in society. People who work are better off financially. They are better off in terms of their health and wellbeing, their self-esteem and the future prospects for themselves and their families.”

“These new reforms will see hundreds of thousands more benefit claimants becoming active job seekers rather than passive recipients.”

Related Articles