Government training scheme launched with mixed response

Published:  23 February, 2012

Pimlico Plumbers' founder, Charlie Mullins, has criticised the government's new £126m training scheme for young people. It would make more sense to give the money to employers directly so that young people could earn while they learn, he says.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced yesterday that the funding would be made available to pay charities and private sector organisations to provide 55,000 16 and 17 year olds who are not in education, employment or training with skills training and related services. The scheme is particularly targeted at under 18 year-olds who have left school without any GCSEs at C level or above.

"While the deputy prime minister's intentions are good, this is the wrong way to go about training kids. It looks like a collective call from training providers for additional funding has been answered. The money will disappear into a bureaucratic black hole rather than directly benefit young people and employers," warned Mullins.

"While it was all very well for charities and other organisations to tap into this funding, it was crucial that employers were the ultimate beneficiaries. My experience of training providers has been nothing short of disastrous so it's time to cut out the middle man and go straight to employers," Mullins said.

Although businesses are able to bid for the funding as well, he questioned, "What employer in their right mind will spend time filling in tender documents for a social experiment?"

Employers are eligible to apply for contracts worth £2200 for each individual they take on, receiving an initial upfront payment, followed by more money if they employ the young person for 12 months. The new scheme, which is due to launch in April, is part of the government's Youth Contract initiative to try and deal with the more than one million young people who are currently out of work.

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