With the lead up to the general election in May now in full swing, David Cameron spoke earlier this week in Hove, East Sussex. In a week that will see the Conservative party focus on welfare reforms, he quoted '50,000 18 to 21-year-old's would be required to do daily work experience from day one of their claim, alongside job searching'.
In a new term, post-election, if the Conservatives were to be elected, Job Seeker's Allowance for 18-21 year old's would be abolished and instead replaced with the 'youth allowance' at the same weekly rate.
The policy shared by the PM forms part of the Conservatives' plans to provide a solution to long-term youth unemployment. "That well-worn path - from the school gate, down to the job centre, and on to a life on benefits - has got to be rubbed away," Mr Cameron said.
Furthermore he added: "What these young people need is work experience and the order and discipline of turning up for work each day".
Below, I've covered the positive and negative points of both the Conservative and Labour policies on youth unemployment:
Positive points of Conservative policy
- Encourages young people to seek work and gain income, if they are able to source an apprenticeship.
- I believe the Conservatives' are right in encouraging young people to work for their benefits, as this instils a work ethic.
- Young people need to be able to build skills to succeed in the work place and must be taught to see community work as an opportunity of a foot in the door to employment.
- However, the above can be countered with a negative in that the Conservatives' effectively want young people to work for 'free'.
Negative points of Conservative policy
- If young people come off 'youth allowance' to start an apprenticeship, but once they finish they aren't kept on as an employee - that means they are then dependent on 'youth allowance' again. This means that there is little/no solution to youth unemployment.
- Some young people may be content to do community work and stay on benefits, so that doesn't solve youth unemployment.
- 30 hours of community work and 10 hours of job searching are the terms of being on 'youth allowance'. What does the 10 hours of job searching consist of? This is vague and could allow young people to look for jobs and not actually apply.
- I believe young people should have a set programme built in to the required 10 hours of job searching, this could include skills development and interview preparation to ensure that they are ready when an opportunity presents itself.
Positive point of Labour policy
- Labour has promised unemployed young people a guaranteed job, this is great and could provide an instant fix to youth unemployment.
Negative point of Labour policy
- Young people are being gifted a job and haven't necessarily had the worth ethic instilled in them before going into the workplace.
Both the Conservative and Labour parties have put together strong policies around solutions to youth unemployment.
But the big question is, do either of their policies provide a realistic long-term solution to youth employment or do they cause more issues?