MP defends work experience scheme

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PARENTS of out-of-work youngsters should be encouraging them to take up unpaid work experience, according to Eastbourne’s MP.

Left-wing critics have been quick to chastise the Government’s latest back-to-work scheme, which sees jobseekers put on a 13-week long placement.

During that time they work eight hour days without pay, but continue to receive their unemployment benefit.

And supporters of the controversial idea say it also provides youngsters with something far more valuable than a short-term financial reward – real experience of the work place to put on their CVs.

A host of big name national firms signed up to take part but a number, including Burger King, Waterstones and TK Maxx, have since pulled out – worried about the affect the negative publicity may have on their public image, and, ultimately, profits.

The anti-work placement arguments is based on the accusation that the Government is doing little more than providing free labour for some of the country’s biggest high street names and that, if there is a job which needs doing, the firm itself should be footing the bill.

However, Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, who has worked as hard as any to help local youngsters into work through a successful 100 apprenticeships in 100 days scheme, says the idea has his full support.

“I am unbelievably massively in favour of it,” he told the Herald this week.

“I support the work experience programme wholeheartedly.

“It is a really positive way for young people to build up their experience in a work environment.

“The success of the scheme has been very high with more than 50 per cent of participants being employed since going on the scheme.

“All [those who have done so] now have some work experience they can put on their CV.”

Mr Lloyd said most people these days appreciate that “the world does not owe us a living and that times are tough,” before speaking of the need for people to “roll up our sleeves”.

The Lib Dem said he has experienced first hand the pressures of being out of work for months on end and that, on the flip side, he has also been someone who had to interview and employ people looking for work.