A new government initiative to get young people into employment is causing more criticism than praise

A Youth Employment Scheme for young people aged 18 to 21 has been announced. The initial details of the programme appear to be sensible, but it seems the government has a lot of work to do to convince people of this truth. Within one day of its introduction, bitterness was already being voiced towards the scheme. Many youngsters are of the opinion they are being punished rather than helped.

Cabinet Minister Matt Hancock has stated that this initiative is not a punishment, but it’s understandable why it comes across as one. The fact that the media is already calling the scheme a ‘boot camp’ tells plenty. People clearly perceive the scheme to be a punishment. Many believe what they read and as such, any scheme that is considered a boot camp will have negative connotations. Boot camps are not meant to be pleasant experiences and come across as a form of punishment for unemployed youngsters.

Young people feel that instead of blaming the unemployed, the government should be looking at the reasons why young people cannot get jobs. This is not always due to young people’s lack of skills but often to the lack of jobs available. Therefore, this scheme can only work if the government does more to provide jobs for the younger generation.

On the one hand, the scheme will force lazy young people to get a job. On the other hand, it punishes those young people who do want a job and cannot get one. In this case, it would be a violation of an individual’s human rights to have their benefits removed. In any case, young people’s benefits should not be threatened with being taken away if they do not have a job – even if they have not tried hard to get one. First, legal implications will most certainly arise if people are denied benefits. Second, this is the wrong attitude for the government to take as it does more to alienate young people’s support of this scheme. If the government really wants to help them, then they should not be made to feel threatened or under punishment.

Another criticism of the scheme is that it stops at 21. Why? The scheme should be extended to include people aged 25. It is only when people reach the age of 21 that they start to realise what they want to do in life.

Nevertheless, the programme does have the potential to give more support to the young, but this will depend considerably on whether the government puts into practice what is outlined in the scheme.

A three-week course of practising job applications and interviews with personal job coaches will certainly benefit many young people who do not have such skills. A lot of the time, people do not know how to behave or what to say in an interview setting.

However, the government will need to tread extremely carefully in order to convince people that this initiative will help get unemployed young people into work. It is important that the scheme does not turn into a form of punishment for those without jobs. It seems that time will tell whether this job ‘boot camp’ is a good initiative. In the meanwhile though, some new jobs and apprenticeships will need to be created as well.