Many of you will have read in the press that some in the Labour party and on the far left have criticised the governments Work Programme because of its work experience element.
As part of the Work programme, which features tailored individual support like never before, those people claiming benefits are asked to do something in exchange for that money from the taxpayer. They work up to eight weeks for 30 hours a week in placements organised by the local job centre and at the end they may even be interviewed for a job.
Is that so terrible? Yes say some in Labour (who are always happy to pay lip service to welfare reform but never actually support it.) One of the most valuable assets a job seeker can have is work experience on their CV. I'm much more in favour of a young person spending those 30 hours a week getting into the habit of waking early, getting ready for work, and developing their skills than sitting them in front of their xbox for 30hours each week.
Getting work experience is good for job seekers but it's also fair. What has really frustrated me is that actually many of the objections seem to come from the fact some of these placements are in Tesco or Poundland. What absolute snobs. It's worth reminding those who protest at having to be 'forced' into working at such places that it's the workers of Poundland and Tesco whose taxes go to pay their benefits.
It's worth noting both the former boss of Tesco and of M&S both started their working life on the shop floor.
We have a tough challenge with unemployment and those who need help and support should get it, but until we scrap this stupid, inverse snobbish attitude that somehow its better to sit at home on benefits than work in Poundland we will have a long way to go.