Headlines: October 12th, 2011

As the economy sheds almost 15,000 jobs each week, companies providing welfare to work services are playing a crucial role in stemming the rising tide of youth unemployment.

The latest job figures from UK National Statistics show that unemployment is at a 17 year high with the youth the jobless rate at 21.3%.

The trade body for the welfare to work industry, the Employment Related Services Association, has announced its partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions to develop solutions to tackle youth unemployment. The partnership will develop stronger transitional arrangements for young people moving from benefit to the Work Programme.

There will also be a focus on apprenticeships. Currently only 12% of apprentices are former benefit claimants. But providers have the potential to play a far greater role in facilitating Information and careers guidance services to children before they reach school-leaving age.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of the Association said: ā€œEmployment services providers recognise the urgent scale of the challenge of youth unemployment. Too many young people from workless backgrounds struggle to find work and have low expectations for the future. However most young people want to work rather than live on benefits. The welfare to work industry can deliver the tailored services that young people need to give them the confidence and skills to get into employment. We therefore welcome the opportunity to work with government to help rise to this challenge.ā€™