Mr Grayling on work experience

Dear colleague

I am writing firstly to thank those colleagues who have been so vociferous and helpful in the debate we have had over the past few days over the work experience scheme. I also wanted to give you a bit more information about where we have got to with the scheme.

One of the great ironies of the campaign against the scheme was that, whilst we are undoubtedly doing some difficult and controversial things in welfare reform, the work experience scheme is not one of them. It is a voluntary scheme that is extremely popular with those who take part, around half of whom come off benefits afterwards. We know that a substantial proportion are staying with the employers with whom they do the placement.

Over the last week we have worked hard to demonstrate that the campaign against the scheme is being orchestrated by anti-capitalist demonstrators, with not a little help from some trades unions. We have also won the overwhelming support of commentators in the media.

When I met employers yesterday, they were very clear that they will absolutely refute any suggestion that unpaid work experience is a bad thing, and that they believe strongly in what we are doing. They did, though, want us to ease the conditionality regime for the scheme if they were to continue to take part.

In reality we make very little use of sanctions on the scheme – fewer than 1% of participants have faced penalties, normally for serious offences such as theft, racist language in the workplace and abusive behaviour. Since the scheme is oversubscribed, getting people to take part has not been a problem.

However we have agreed to allow people who sit down with their employer at any stage of the placement and say that they want to leave to do so without penalty. A JobCentre Plus adviser will then clearly sit down with that person and see if they require any additional intervention to help them with their job search. I should stress that the sanctions regime remains in place and those who commit serious breaches in their workplace will face penalties.

We are now working to build up the scheme. We have already added three major new firms to the scheme this week – Airbus, Hewlett Packard and Center Parcs. Around 200 smaller firms have also come forward to express interest in supporting the scheme in the past two weeks.

This is something that all colleagues can help with. JobCentre Plus staff are working around the country trying to find employers who will offer placements. They would welcome your help in encouraging local firms to participate. So if you have ideas, or contacts who are willing to take part, please do get in touch with your local JobCentre Plus manager, or email me so that I can put you in touch directly.

We know that this approach makes a real difference to unemployed young people, and every extra opportunity can help – particularly for those from the most deprived backgrounds who don’t have the necessary contacts to find their first piece of experience in the job market.

Thank you again for your support.

With best wishes


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  1. lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Anything that gets the unemployed some experience of work is surely better than nothing but real jobs are what is really needed. These will not come unless and until the government stops choking industry to death with absurd regulations and a far too big a state sector for it to carry.

    So far, this clearly socialist government, has just heaped more and more taxes and red tape onto businesses. Such as the no retirement rules, the extra bank holidays this year and last, the “I drank to much while on holiday so was sick tax”, the new late filing penalty rules …………..I could go on and on and on. When will they stop and reverse before or after they have nearly killed it all?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I see that Matt Ridley in the Spectator thinks that Cameron has finally seen through the wind-farm scam (yet another thing killing business). Well let us hope so at long last but I have not heard him say anything sensible on the green subject. Subsidies are still being chucked down the drain for PV and Wind.

      At least the green high priest Huhne has finally gone I suppose – but not for his idiotic energy policies.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        I suppose there will be subsidies to pay to remove the huge wind-farm concrete bases and countless access roads all over the countryside in due course.

        • zorro
          Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          It would be so much easier to let the market work and allow firms to take on people easily. If workers are good, firms will do their best to keep them. It also gives far more people the chance to gain experience and understand the value of work.

          As a principle, I am uneasy with the idea of giving free labour to big business who fund politicians. It is far better to allow companies to operate and allow them to employ the people they need, as long as they take the resident workforce and do import immigrants instead.

          Get politicians out of unnecessary interference in business and jobs. These people have the Midas touch in reverse. Anyway, at least Dave got a photo opportunity at the Tesco shoot today. Did you hear him say..’Oh, and Adele shops here too’ (PR man striking again mentioning someone in the news for winning an award)…..


      • stred
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        After his ordeal is over Mr Huhne should be tried for peversion of the course of energy.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          Perhaps we should have a new offence of “knowingly wasting tax payers money on pointless things”. Or “wasting taxpayers money on pointless political gestures to buy votes”.

          But then would there be many politicians left not in jail.

    • stred
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Clearly, Cameron has now discarded any critical staff and may as well be a senior Civil Master or Fabian. If John and his likeminded MPs are to have any chance of re-election they must somehow dump him.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink


    This surely shows that employers have vacancies, but are not prepared to take on untried applicants in a full time job.

    Given the above, we need to find the reasons why.

    I would go as far to suggest if the take up is somewhere near to 50% (as reported) then present employment legislation is a hinderance for employers taking on untried people, simply because of the hastle (and possible legal complications) in sacking people who prove to be totally unsuitable.

    The present scheme helps both those out of work, and employers, as it is in effect a trail period for both to test each others suitability for the longer term.

    So long as safeguards exist for the proposed employee, that they are not simply used as cheap seasonal labour for an extended period, I welcome the scheme.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      What you say chimes with my thoughts.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      You do not employ people now you adopt them for evermore.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        There is also short term contracts as well as little employment protection for the first three months anyway and not much even before two years. What do you not understand about this?

    • Bazman
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Then what are all these agencies doing then? There is also short term contracts as well as little employment protection for the first three months anyway and not much even before two years.

      • Mark
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        Come to that, what are Job Centres doing? Perhaps Grayling has managed to get them doing something useful for once.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          When was the last time you were there? They are actually a good place to find a job.

      • stred
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        This is the whole point. Agencies hire workers short term and charge a large mark up. Long term employers needing perhaps a secretary are risking having to pay, amongst other charges, for maternity leave and now holiday sickness. Even young men now have to bond with their newborn offspring and their employer is expected to pay for most of it. When workers are in the public sector, everyone pays for it.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Agencies have cut each others throats for years blaming the employers for this their mark up is now quite low. This is mainly used to circumvent the laws you mention. Do you think that an employee can be temporary when he has worked in the same position for three years?Companies can still take on employes on short term contracts that mean you can be paid and required by the hour. I did this last Christmas.
          What you are asking for is cash in hand work with no rights this only happens outside the law and the laws exist for good reason despite your belief they do not.
          Interesting to know your rates and employment rights. Any reduction of these and you would squeal like stuck pigs.

          • stred
            Posted March 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            Don’t have any. Made redundant 20 years ago and given 800 quid pay off. I have to make my own living and do all my own work. I would never find it worth taking anyone in employment and expanding my work. If you had a small business, would you want to take on the commitments for a full time or part time employee?

    • StevenL
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Of course its the tax and regulation, that’s how it works. You create a big problem with your left hand and try to clear up your mess with the right.

      Whack lots of sin taxes on this, ban that and the other then spend a fortune trying to police the resulting crime wave.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      If what you were saying was true then employers would test an employee on a 1 month long temporary contract (no penalty for not renewing the contract). The fact that they’re not suggests that employers only want 8 weeks of free labour.

      The present scheme is useless and the 50% figure is a lie. If it worked then unemployment would be going down and the Government would actually release figures showing how this scheme was working.

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        If at the very minimum they had to do road sweeping to justify their benefits payments they would still get work experience in so far that they would have to master the art of setting an alarm clock and rolling out of bed on a cold dark wet and windy morning when every fibre or their being is screaming “don’t do it”!

        Then, shelf stacking might seem like a preferable option, and it could then lead on to them becoming assistant deputy manager, deputy manager or even manager. The sky is the limit, it’s down to attitude as much as anything else. Unfortunately, the SWP tend to encourage a negative attitude to work.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          1) To qualify as work experience people have to learn skills that will be useful in a job, so unless you want to be a cleaner sweeping isn’t a useful skill. It also doesn’t need to be taught for a significant period of time.

          2) Learning how to ‘rolling out of bed on a cold dark wet and windy morning’ is something everyone who has ever been to school learns. It also doesn’t make you more employable.

          3) I doubt most people will want to be a shelf stacker on the off chance that it might lead to a better job. Given that the skills needed to be a good manager are radically different from those needed to stack shelves most people could skip the shelf stacking stage without having any effect on how good a manager they are.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink


        Many people who are on JSA simply do not want to attempt temporary work because it takes far too long to get back into the system when that temporary work ends.

        I am guessing that this new scheme has no such problems as they do not leave JSA in the first place, unless a perminent job is offered after the trial period.

        So you have rubbished the figures, ribbished the scheme, and your solution is ?.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          My solution is to stop badmouthing the unemployed and accept that for some people it make take them years to find a permanent job.

          Forcing them to work for free in private companies won’t magically make them more employable, all it will do is replace low paid jobs with unpaid jobs.

        • sm
          Posted March 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          I think there are more than enough takers, checkout reed website or others which records the number job applications. In many case 100+.

  3. Simon
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I have nothing against work experience in itself, and I know very little about this particular version.

    However, statements like “around half of whom come off benefits afterwards” light up the weasel words detector.

    Is the figure more or less than that for similar people not taking part in the scheme?

    • Mark
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      It seems to be a much better result than several other schemes according to the statistics in this paper:

      Of course it is still early days, and rollout nationally and to many more employers may not be as successful – or it may become an important route to reconnect employers with our disaffected youth who so often consider themselves supplanted by immigrants and are coming to realise that their education may not have been all they were led to believe it was.

  4. rose
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Our son did his work experience with Airbus. He has always done a job, but that unpaid one was the one he found the most interesting, exciting, and enjoyable – more than his time as an undergraduate at Oxford, too.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Part of ‘work experience’ is being paid. The experience of being paid for your labours. Lets face it Rose. Airbus are not in the business of helping starving children.

      • rose
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Parents used to pay for their children to be apprenticed – for years.

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink


          Yes I well remember my apprenticehip first years wages of many years ago @ £3.04 per week (gross) out of which I gave my Mum £1.00 and was pleased to do so.!

          A good industrial wage at the time was deemed to be £20.00 week.

          Before that I had a paper round which paid the grand sum of 12 shillings and 6 pence. Or nowadays 62 pence a week.

          No minimum wage then !

          • Bazman
            Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            If work need doing it needs to be paid. Does anyone disagree with this statement The job center said I could actually do a work trial for an employer?
            Work at my trade for a few weeks for no pay. Anyone think that is a good idea?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        They should be paid when they are of use to the company. Initially, untrained and green behind the ears, they are probably a liability to the company.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          If they are carrying out work that is of value to the company then they should be paid. No pay no work.
          Who are you. Simple Simon?

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        They are paid.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          By the company?

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Is this you leading up to telling us all about your charitable contributions?

  5. Bill
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Excellent. Delighted you are making a robust response to the kind of attacks on you being orchestrated by doctrinaire socialists. From where I sit at the moment, in Asia, the arguments against the work experience scheme appear confected and pointless. Surely any scheme which helps young people into work is good? Surely a scheme which breaks the cycle that says ‘you cannot have a job until you have experience; you cannot get experience till you have a job’ is good? Keep going Mr Grayling. There is one voter here who give you full marks.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Capitalism requires payment for work and services. No pay means the job is not real. Stacking shelves is not rocket science.

      • Bill
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 12:47 am | Permalink

        You miss the point. The scheme offers young people experience in the workplace, something that can go on a CV. Secondary schools have been doing this for years. Why don’t you want to help young people?

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink


          Indeed both of my daughters did work experience when at school as well.

          Only for a week, absolutely no pay, but the staff took them out for lunch each day, generally looked after them, and got them involved in projects to make it as interesting as possible.

          It cost the firm money (mentors time) to do so, but they felt that it proved useful all round, my daughters never forget the companies names who were involved.

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        And the people we are talking about are not rocket scientists.

  6. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Work Experience is a great idea. I think it would work out more economic for the nation to enable people to work for minimum wage without loss of benefit or to afford tax relief for employees if they take on British workers. (Probably against EU law but who cares !)

    It has to be far cheaper than this inexorable rise in population – our own young unable to afford to have children (unless unmarried and on benefits), people kept on the dole while labour is imported from elsewhere and all the economic and social pressures that creates.

    Even where there are no placements … there is no reason why we should be seeing litter and graffite everywhere – not least when there are people at home without work or those supposedly on ‘community service’.

    That would restore an immense amount of pride not only in individuals but in the whole nation.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Graffiti of course.

      Tax relief to employers on the basis that they will pay more than minimum wage.

      • stred
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        The brains of the young Brits are the same basically as they always have been. They are plastic and are affected by the liberal non punitive education system and by drugs such as cannabis. However, even a month of experience in the real world is invaluable.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    “We have also won the overwhelming support of commentators in the media.”

    That’s news to me, they mostly seemed hostile, especially Newsnight. Unless that means they are supportive now that the rules have been changed.
    Sadly, the impression has been left that the government, and in particular some companies, were frightened off by those orchestrated anti-capatilist and socialist worker demonstrators aided and abetted by the broadcast media. Why shouldn’t there be a disincentive to leaving the scheme?
    Please expect more organised, publicity seeking demonstrations against every policy the government wishes to implement, as you have shown your weakness in the face of the worst kind of opposition.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Putin won the overwhelming support of the Russian electorate. What are you saying?

  8. sm
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    In reality we make very little use of sanctions on the scheme . Then why have sanctions at all associated with a VOLUNTARY scheme. After all it is oversubscribed.

    If either the employer or the employee wish to end the arrangement then that should be the end of it.

    The individual who ended the voluntary arrangement should be reviewed like a claimant who had not volunteered in the first place.Otherwise its not helpful to the prospective employee’s and employers. The scheme should be reviewed and the those on the scheme could be surveyed every 6 months later anonymously.

    Any mandatory schemes should be seperate and open to full scrutiny.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Work experience is definitely a good idea, whether paid if you can get it or unpaid if need be, whatever your ultimate career path may be. I had an unexpected gap year before going to university. In those far off days, the early 50s, for me it meant having to find work that paid. I had no money and my parents could only afford to provide a roof over my head and food on the table. I worked on the factory floor, as a hod carrier on a building site, running a building site for a builder (an hours drive to get there on the back of a canvas covered truck in the middle of winter) and so on. It enabled me to save the then princely sum of £100 – and to pay to run my motor cycle. It proved to be an invaluable experience in my later working life.

    I think the recent campaign to denigrate the scheme to be wholly contemptible. It reminded me of the comments that Stephan Shakespeare made the other day on conservativehome in which he described the techniques of “framing the debate” and the “anchoring effect”. This and similar campaigns display the hallmarks of those that project the anti-business agenda. It seems to me that ministers are too often surprised by these campaigns, and are unready to combat them swiftly and decisively. It suggests they have not thought the potential sources of protest nor the contingent responses they will require. They need to be reminded of the Boy Scouts motto: Be prepared.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Unlike you the people on this scheme are not being well paid or even paid at all. Would you have been happy to work on a building site for free?

      People oppose this scheme because it enables private companies to replace paid jobs with slave labour. Just because fighting for employee rights is ‘anti-business’ doesn’t make it wrong.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink


        I thought they still got JSA !

        £65.00 a week for doing nothing, is 65% of the State Pension for a retired person who may have paid taxes all of their working life.

        Would fully agree the State pension needs to increase, but many youngsters who are getting JSA (straight fron school) have paid absolutely Zero into any scheme at all.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          To qualify for JSA you have to be actively looking for work, not work like a slave in a private company. If the government wants people to work in a private company they should be prepared to pay them minimum wage.

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        I think it probably costs the employers more to operate the scheme and provide supervision, that the value of any work carried out.

        This is work experience, it’s a training thing.

        The firms that participate do so because of their social commitment to the communities they serve, not to avail themselves of cheap labour. Most of them would just as soon drop out and just employ people with a track record to do the jobs if they felt that the job seekers were not benefiting from the experience.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Actually it’s cheaper for employers because they don’t have to pay the unemployed £6.08 per hour. The employer doesn’t need to supervise people when they perform menial tasks.

          Please explain why people need 8 weeks training to stacking shelves in a supermarket.

          So you believe that Tesco decided to replace it’s minimum wage staff with the unemployed for the good of the community and not to save a lot of money? Tesco only cancelled this scheme because of the negative publicity it received, not because if felt it was bad for the unemployed.

      • oldtimer
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        You are talking rubbish again. Your comment is an example of the campaigning to which I draw attention. This scheme is not “slave labour” as you describe it but an opportunity for people to gain work experience..

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          You’re ducking the issue that young people aren’t getting paid, while you were paid during your training. I ask you again, would you have been happy to work on a building site for free? Yes or no?

          Also if you bothered to talk to young people who had been forced to work in Tescos or Poundland under this scheme you’d find that they considered it pointless and that they didn’t obtain any useful work experience. Stacking shelves isn’t useful work experience, especially when most employers can get people to stack their shelves for free.

  10. Alte Fritz
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Just watching a news broadcast, I see that Mr Cameron has visited Tesco to encourage it to participate. A news clip showed earlier protests against the scheme. The protesters carried Socialist Worker banners. Can one say sufficiently often just what the SWP stands for? Yet they get away here and elsewhere with being characterised as the normal opposition. They are not. They are as evil as any (example deleted-ed) who would not be given any veneer of respectability in the media.

    • StevenL
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      It is generally the real looney left that go out on these jaunts. These days the fellow travellers seem to comprise of hardened, getting on for 60 trade unionists marching alongside much younger vegetarian socialist types.

      It’s a hotspot for them down here on the south coast. The other day in town a load of rather colourful pensioners occupied one of the supermarkets to protest about the Israeli potatoes and red peppers.

  11. Martin
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I’d be happier with these schemes if folk had their benefits increased to minimum wage level (subject to satisfactory performance etc).

    Re the opposition to the scheme – part of that is down to the Labour Party have carried on. They have moaned about the benefits cap (way above minimum wage) and left those who are working for two Pounds odd an hour (way under minimum wage) unrepresented.

  12. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    “Over the last week we have worked hard to demonstrate that the campaign against the scheme is being orchestrated by anti-capitalist demonstrators.”

    Why? Why not just engage with the detail of their intelligent, real and relevant concerns which are based with them having actually experienced the scheme.

    I find it repulsive that this government relentlessly seeks to discredit anyone who has a concern about any of its policies. Play the ball not the man for goodness sake.

    As far as a can tell there is no campaign against the scheme as a whole. There are just people who are concerned to make it fairer, less constraining and more effective than it is.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink


      The problem is the opponents are not playing the ball either, and without a referee, you have to take matters into your own hands to defend yourself.

      If you have ever played a game with a crap referee you would understand, you do not allow yourself to get intimidated because if you do, you have lost the battle and probably the game.

      Life is tough, you and I my not like it, but sometimes you simply have to get on with it.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        If someone hits you it does not give you the right to hit them – be that a legal or a moral right.

        This is far more so the case when the second party is our government.

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 7, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink


          You are absolutely right, but if you do not thump them back you will get hit again, and again, and again, that is exactly how playground bullies work and survive.

          They soon move on to another victim when they are thumped back hard.

          It may not be right, it may not be legal, (perhaps self defence)but it works in real life.

  13. lojolondon
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Chris we are all behind you. As are 90% of the population.

    The reason why you are taking such heat is because the BBC and Guardian are in cahoots with the Labour party to oppose everything the Tories do, eg. jobs, NHS, quangos, etc.

    Although the Conservatives are in power, they lack the courage to deal with the marxist media that we all fund, so not only do we, your voters, have to listen to it and know we are paying for it, but we have to realise that the media is spoiling all attempts to bring this country back to it’s feet. Criminal.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      The 2.67 million unemployed people who are forced to work for free are not behind Chris Grayling. Neither are the decent people who believe that employees should be paid a fair wage for a days work.

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        “The 2.67 million unemployed people who are forced to work for free”

        Where do you get the idea that 2.67 million people are being forced to work for nothing. This is simply untrue.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          Everyone who is unemployed can be forced onto this scheme. This is why the 2.67 million unemployed people don’t support it.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha ha ha Another made up “fact”.

  14. forthurst
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    In Shakespeare’s time, young men were referred to as ‘apprentices’. The Trades Unions killed off apprenticeships insisting that boys be paid a man’s wage. My experience of trainees is that they are a positive drain on resources initially and will begin to break even around six months.

    Young people need to ease into employment as a learning experience for their own and employers’ sakes and the Trade Unions, the BBC and extremist political movements should if necessary be stamped on.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      So what’s your solution? Not pay trainees for the first 6 months? Don’t expect to get many people to become your apprentices.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink


        Do grow up.

        Millions of people went through apprenticeship schemes over the decades, its what gave this Country a skilled workforce.

        The idea of serving an apprenticeship was that when qualified, you earned more as a skilled person than the average worker, and it was a deemed a price worth paying.

        Many skilled apprentices then went into management, and then moved on and started their own businesses.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          Get your facts straight.

          Decades ago apprenticeships paid a living wage while you were learning, then a high wage once you were qualified. Now they’re paid nothing or less than minimum wage with no guarantee of a job.

          If you want apprenticeships to be reputable you have to pay a decent wage, not as little as possible. Until this happens don’t expect anyone to begin an apprenticeship.

          • forthurst
            Posted March 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            Your at it again!

            “Decades ago apprenticeships paid a living wage while you were learning”

            Total nonsense.

      • Bob
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        “So what’s your solution? Not pay trainees for the first 6 months? Don’t expect to get many people to become your apprentices.”

        Not while they can get paid for doing nothing – but if you stopped benefits to anyone who has never worked, then they would see an apprenticeship as a good alternative.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          They’d also see crime as an even better alternative, as it has a higher rate of pay and more flexible hours.

  15. JimF
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Now i’m confused.
    Surely you either have a minimum wage or you don’t?
    Please tell me the reasoning behind a minimum wage when “interns” are taken on for expenses and now we have these “workfare” placements. Shall we have another scheme and just call it “anyone whose labour doesn’t justify the minimum wage”, alongside the miniumum wage for those it does?
    Then scrap the minimum wage as irrelevant bueaucracy.

  16. Bernard Otway
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Just read the comments of the Malaysian student’s father who was punched and robbed during the Riots last year,reported in the weekend papers.About people working and paying taxes for others to not work and get BENEFITS.
    WE ARE A LAUGHING STOCK to the rest of the world.
    And I get ANGRIER by the day and as I am 66 I do not keep QUIET I tell it as it IS,and challenge people IN THEIR FACES to disagree,IF I BECOME A MARTYR ? SO WHAT,I am now UNTOUCHABLE ,as I have what my father called “…. off POWER”,and it will now be FRONT PAGE NEWS,IF I go tomorrow WHO CARES ? NOT ME.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink


      Yes it is difficult for outsiders to understand our system, I often wonder myself why we put up with it, and have done so for so long.

      If you were starting a system from scratch, I am certain we would not have the present set up where those who work, pay for those who do not want to.

      Like so many things, our Welfare and Benefits system has morphed into a complicated, unfair and unwholy mess.

      Its the system which is at fault, which in turn is down to our politicians attempting social and welfare engineering over decades, for whatever reason that may be.

      IDS is trying to make a start, but it really still does not go anywhere near far enough.

  17. uanime5
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Does Mr Grayling think we’re all idiots?

    1) According to the JobCentre the ‘work experience scheme’ is mandatory, this is why it’s ‘oversubscribed’. So either the Government is lying or they were negligent when supervising the JobCentre.

    2) The work experience scheme is not popular as those on it are used as slave labour, rather than being taught useful skills. Also it very rarely results in a job.

    3) Those demonstrating against the scheme were those who were forced into it and were trying to have this horrible scheme scrapped. They weren’t anti-capitalists, communists, Marxists, or socialists. They were normal people who had been abused by the Government for the benefit of private companies.

    4) I’m not surprised that employers support having employees who have to work for free; it keeps their overheads down.

    5) Most people on the scheme are told that if they don’t obey their employer’s every whim they’ll face 3 months of benefits sanctions. The JobCentre doesn’t help people leave this scheme because the JobCentre is under pressure to reduce the number of people who are unemployed. Especially young people.

    6) Here’s my idea for this scheme; it’s voluntary, has no benefit sanctions, only lasts 2 weeks, and both the employer and government split the cost of paying for the employee (minimum pay is minimum wage).

    Reply: The scheme is voluntary

    • sm
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      If someone leaves the scheme for any reason do benefit sanctions apply and who decides/judges if the sanction is justified.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        The Job Centre decides whether you will get a benefit sanction and they will apply it if you leave early. While officially voluntary so politicians can pretend they care about the unemployed there is high levels of coercion from the Job Centre and employers.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      John if the scheme is voluntary then:

      1) Why does the Job Centre tell the unemployed it’s mandatory?

      2) Why are there sanctions for non-compliance? If it’s voluntary then why can you lose your benefit for 3 months if you don’t do everything your ’employer’ tell you to do?

      3) Why can’t the unemployed person leave the scheme without the Job Centre’s approval? Surely you should be able to leave a voluntary scheme whenever you want.

      4) Why are people who refuse this scheme forced to go on the Mandatory Work Activity Programme, which isn’t voluntary?

      Strange sort of voluntary scheme the Government is running.

  18. David John Wilson
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    There needs to be a much closer link between vocational courses at schools and colleges, work experience while at and after leaving school, “Saturday” jobs, and apprenticeships.
    If these were linked together into a final qualification many youngsters would be much better set up for a life of work. We need to stop youngsters who get an initial vocational qualification not getting the encouragement or opportunity to carry that vocation further.

  19. Phoenix One UK
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Work experience? Why don’t you call it by its true name, cheap/slave labour.

    Do you have any idea what the DWP/Job Centres are doing? Would you like a copy of my claim filed with County Court? (makes allegations against DWP -ed)

    Reply: If you want an MP to help you with a specific case you should write to your own MP with the facts and ask for help.

  20. Bernard Otway
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    No UANIME5 the epithet you asked does Chris Grayling think we are, actually DOES apply to you,I think you are an inhabitant of the planet SOFTCOMMSOCIALISM,where all the inhabitants are ….. AS TWO SHORT PLANKS!!!!

    • uanime5
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Let me know when you can form a coherent argument rather than a pointless rants.

  21. RDM
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    To start with; If any of you think I need work experience, then you have got your head right up your xzczcx! I have 30yrs+ work experience! Also; I’ve paid just as much tax as any of you have, if not more!

    I am unemployed because there is NO work out there!

    And lets not forget; The Financial crush happened in ~2008.., and we have had the Euro crisis, and slow growth for the last two years. Do not tell me regions like Wales are growing!

    If I had access to a Bank loan, I could have created many highly skilled jobs! The number of startup opportunities that I have come across within the last two years is frighting! We could employ most of Wales with startups alone!!!!

    Now I am with the company that the government has employed to get the long term unemployed back to work, and they have absolutely nothing to offer! Not even a part time role, because their wages would not cover my Rent or Living expenses. I would lose more of my benefits, then I could earn?

    Or they are Sales/call center roles, the companies want young, extroverted personalities that they can develop, who want a career in Sales.

    With Frustration yours,

    A long term unemployed 49yr old?

    • Bazman
      Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Try bricklaying.

  22. Bazman
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Grayling. Lack of work experience.

  23. Bazman
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Let me take a right wing view. If the economy was in good shape then there would be jobs. Labour put the economy in shape, but believed bankers lies and fantasy. Was it any other way john?

    Reply: Yes, Labour accepted the banks and regulators errors and refused to make them hold more cash and capital despite some of us urging them to do so at the time.

One Trackback

  • […] • John Redwood on his blog posts a letter Chris Grayling has sent to Conservative MPs about the wo… One of the great ironies of the campaign against the scheme was that, whilst we are undoubtedly doing some difficult and controversial things in welfare reform, the work experience scheme is not one of them. It is a voluntary scheme that is extremely popular with those who take part, around half of whom come off benefits afterwards. We know that a substantial proportion are staying with the employers with whom they do the placement. […]

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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