By Claire West

Government unveils new plans to massively expand volunteering and training opportunities for the unemployed.

Under the scheme, advisers from The Prince’s Trust and other local government voluntary organisations will be located in Jobcentre Plus (JCP) offices to signpost jobseekers of all ages to volunteering and training opportunities in their area. The new initiative will particularly benefit young people as they will be able to get more support to help them into jobs, education and training.

Ministers are keen to strengthen partnerships with the voluntary sector as it is uniquely placed to help disadvantaged groups and communities. They believe that increasing the support for this sector will be crucial to get Britain working again.

Iain Duncan Smith said:

I am delighted that this partnership with The Prince’s Trust and local voluntary sector organisations across the country will mean thousands of volunteering opportunities for jobseekers — for some it will be a chance to get some valuable experience and gain skills after years without work. I have long been a vocal advocate of empowering grass roots organisations, as I believe they have the dedication, experience and specialist knowledge to get Britain working again.

A Memorandum of Understanding to formalise the partnership between Jobcentre Plus and The Prince’s Trust was signed by Darra Singh, Jobcentre Plus’s Chief Executive and Martina Milburn, the Chief Executive of The Trust.

The Prince’s Trust helps more than 40,000 disadvantaged young people every year, giving them the confidence and skills to get a job. More than three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.

Martina Milburn, Chief Executive of youth charity The Prince’s Trust, said:

With youth unemployment at a record high, it is now more important than ever to help young people into jobs. This partnership will help us reach thousands more disadvantaged young people, giving them the skills and confidence to break out of long-term unemployment and poverty. Transforming these young lives will have a huge impact on their families, communities as well as on Britain’s economy.

Prince’s Trust advisers and local volunteering centres will start to appear in Jobcentres in the next few weeks, with a national roll out from April where possible.

For people who have claimed benefits for many years volunteering and training courses offer the ideal opportunity to make the first move into the workplace and a good way to build confidence and gain new skills. There are currently almost five million people on out of work benefits, many of whom with the right help and support could start a journey back into employment.