Work experience opportunities for unemployed young people

Anne Marie Fletcher.
Anne Marie Fletcher.

The Department for Employment and Learning is urging unemployed young people to find out more about the wide range of work experience opportunities available through its Youth Employment Scheme (YES).

“YES has a tremendous range of opportunities available for unemployed young people. Opportunities available so far have ranged from retail and office work, through positions gaining experience with food product manufacturers and in bars and restaurants, all the way to work experience in computer and video game programming and repair, landscaping and even opportunities in such unusual areas as in a tattooist’s parlour or with an ice cream manufacturer,” explained Anne Marie Fletcher, the department’s local office manager for Newtownabbey.

“The Youth Employment Scheme is designed to give young people between the ages of 18 and 24 help and support in looking for permanent work by offering work experience opportunities. The scheme is entirely voluntary and will help young people develop the skills and qualifications needed to get a job. Employability skills are more readily obtained by work experience with a company or a voluntary organisation. Young unemployed people are encouraged to participate in YES and avail of a wide range of opportunities on offer at www.jobcentreonline.com.”

She continued: “With more young people finding themselves in a position where they can’t land a job because they don’t have experience, we need to find more creative ways to help our young people into work. A young person claiming Jobseekers Allowance can go on a YES work experience placement without their benefits being affected. During the work experience they’ll be given the chance to try out a range of tasks in a real work situation. The emphasis is on providing them with an opportunity to sample the world of work, develop employability skills and give work-related experience to help them find a job in the future.”

Anne Marie added: “Also available is the Skills Development programme which is a work placement that lasts between six and nine months, combined with job related training. The emphasis is on upskilling participants by making available opportunities for young people to achieve additional qualifications or build on existing ones. Participants are expected to take part in approximately 150 hours of training relevant to the occupation they are involved in. Participants on the development programme receive a training allowance equivalent to their benefit entitlement plus £45 a week so they receive at least £100 a week during placement.”