Jobless helped to get a foot in the door
In the March 2007 budget, the Government introduced the new Local Employment Partnership (LEP) programme. The aim of the programme is to help 250,000 people into work, targeting in particular disadvantaged people who find it harder to locate jobs. Recent reports suggest that the development of the scheme is making rapid headway with 250 employers (including the Royal Bank of Scotland) having indicated they wish to be involved, whilst negotiations are going ahead with a further 380 employers (The Times, 4 December 2007).
Caroline Flint, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform said:"The workplace is changing. There is greater flexibility in working hours and different types of jobs available. In many cases people just need to have their horizons widened to what is now available. ..... In most cases, the long-term unemployed want to earn money and enjoy the satisfaction that a job can bring. But this can happen only with the positive involvement of employers' (The Times, 4 December 2007).
The LEP provides work experience and training to re-introduce individuals to the demands and disciplines of work and helps prepare them for employment. With hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled, it gives employers the incentive to tap into a large group of people who, with a bit of coaching and motivation, have much to offer (The Times, 4 December 2007).
An example of the scheme in action can be seen at the new Sainsbury's store being built in Alnwick, Northumberland, where 15 jobs have been earmarked for single parents, people with a disability or health condition, and the long-term unemployed (Journal Live, 7th December 2007).
Caroline Flint stated:"Experience shows that once they have returned to employment, the previously long-term unemployed are often more loyal and stay longer than others. It is also very impressive, for example, that absence and sickness levels are actually lower among those with disabilities. The emphasis is on what they can do, not what they can't do." (The Times, 4 December 2007).
Jobless helped to get a foot in the door - The Times (printed edition) 4 December 2007
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