By Daniel Hunter
Will Davies — an employer in the building sector — welcomed George Osborne’s benefit changes announced this week but said that instilling a ‘work ethic and providing quality training’ were the keys to putting the next generation to work.
“The chancellor is quite right to try and stamp out the ‘something for nothing’ culture prevalent amongst the long-term unemployed but it is equally important to upgrade the training opportunities we can offer them,” said Mr Davies the founder and MD of property maintenance and refurbishment company aspect.co.uk
“At the moment, if an eastern European is interviewed for a job and he has completed a full trade apprenticeship abroad, as many of them have, they are a more attractive prospect to employers.
“However, we have found that the willingness to work demonstrated by migrant workers has had a beneficial effect on British youngsters.
“More than 20% of the under 24 year-olds in this country are without employment or training at the moment and becoming more and more alienated by the job market. That is a dire situation: no country can hope to return itself to a sound financial footing if it alienates 20% of its future workforce.”
Mr Osborne told the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester that from April individuals who are unable to find work through the Work Programme will have to report the Job Centre daily, engage in community work or compulsory training if they are not to loose their benefits.
The Chancellor said: "We are saying there is no option of doing nothing for your benefits, no something for nothing any more. People are going to have to do things to get their dole and that is going to help them into work.
"There needs to be a bit of tough love... to fix the problem of endemic worklessness.
"No-one will be ignored or left without help. But no-one will get something for nothing,” Mr Osborne said.
Will Davies is a long-time campaigner for improved trade apprenticeships throughout Britain and has recently made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into ‘Construction and Youth Employment’.
“It is essential that employers are granted the power to design apprenticeships for young people. Employers know the skills they require and therefore they know the skills that are employable,” said Mr Davies
“Generations of employment schemes have failed young workers. Civil servants and outside training agencies (although undoubtedly well meaning) have failed to produce youngsters with employable skills.
“Employers like aspect.co.uk have campaigned for years to be given access to the apprenticeship purse strings. It is all very well for Mr Bryant to call for government to work with companies to employ more ‘local’ workers but first we have to equip them with employable skills,” said Mr Davies.
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