Further work for colleges

November 17, 1995

Further education colleges may be asked to provide new kinds of training courses under Labour's "New Deal" for the young unemployed.

Out-of-work youngsters who opt to join full-time education to avoid losing 40 per cent of their income support - the sanction proposed by the shadow chancellor, Gordon Brown, to usher under-25s off welfare and into work - would need courses leading directly into employment.

That might mean the development of new kinds of provision in colleges to cater specifically for this group of people, Labour's education leaders have suggested.

Under the scheme outlined by Mr Brown, anyone under the age of 25 without basic educational qualifications could choose education rather than three other options to avoid losing benefit. These are employment, voluntary sector work or joining an environmental task force.

They would study full-time on an approved education or training course approved by the Employment Service. The "16-hour Rule" which currently prevents full-time study without benefit loss would be relaxed.

David Blunkett, shadow education secretary, said: "By removing some of the barriers facing young people going into further education Labour is offering important new opportunities which will assist them in gaining the skills they need to go into the workforce."

But a spokesman for Mr Blunkett's office added that the proposed scheme might require a re-examination of current provision in colleges for unemployed people.

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