Britain is storing up a huge financial bombshell for future generations by not confronting the problems of youth and long-term unemployment, according to Will Davies, a former investment banker and now the founder of property maintenance firm Aspect.co.uk.
Davies a long-time campaigner for the return of traditional apprenticeships in the UK says that Labour’s plans to introduce compulsory work for long-term welfare claimants, that were announced last week, would only exacerbate the problem.
“There are already over one million young unemployed in this country and they are becoming totally demoralised by the job market,” Davies explains.
“The number of long-term unemployed of all ages is also ballooning. If we don’t give these people confidence through real training we will be dealing the financial ramifications of our failure for decades to come.”
Labour’s shadow work and pension’s spokesman Liam Byrne announced plans to guarantee six months’ work for every claimant who had been without a job for two years.
“If you’ve been out of work for a couple of years you need to be working or training and not claiming,” said Byrne. “We will provide subsidy to employers or the voluntary sector to ensure that there is work there for you.”
But, responds Davies, creating “unreal jobs” for six months is “patently not the answer”.
“It would be another employment scheme which dissolves into nothing more than a source of cheap labour and a means to claim government grants. We’ve found that if you offer individuals an apprenticeship that offers real training and skills that they can have confidence in they commit themselves to the scheme.
“There is little real employment future without meaningful training and real training has to be guided by employers who understand the skills required and not government agencies,” he concludes.