Headlines: September 21st, 1999

The Government says it is willing to hand more cash to small localised
groups who can help get long term unemployed people into work.

Employment Minister Andrew Smith called on delegates at an influential jobs
seminar to help the Government work out how very localised projects could be
allowed maximum freedom at the same time as being accountable for spending
public money.

His plans will be both welcome and a warning to those in local government,
which wants to be allowed such freedoms. The Minister indicated that such
groups need not be part of the local government infrastructure, picking up
on the ‘what matters is what works’ theme.

‘Intermediary’ organisations are part of the next radical phase of
welfare-to-work initiatives, and are organisations who try to link jobless
people with employers.

The Centre for Employment and Enterprise Development in Bristol has been
highlighted as one such successful programme. It offers Positive Action
Traineeships in collaboration with participating businesses, recruiting
trainees from the local community – mostly two years or more unemployed –
and provides them with support. The businesses taking part provide on the
job training and work experience. Over 80% of the trainees get a job at the
end of the traineeship.