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Action plan to develop New Deal announced


Employment Minister Tessa Jowell today announced a ten point action plan to build on what works in New Deal. The plan will include:

* tests and help for the 40 per cent of young people on New Deal who lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.
* compulsory presentation lessons to ensure young jobseekers can present themselves well to employers
* job coaches to offer continued support in helping people who have been long-term unemployed to make the transition back into work

Tessa Jowell said: "New Deal has successfully helped almost 170,000 people move from long-term unemployment into work. New Deal has a dramatic effect on individuals’ lives and unites all sectors of the community - employers, voluntary sector organisations, education and training providers - in making people employable.

"Today we are celebrating the two-year anniversary of the twelve pathfinder areas where New Deal began. The people I have met today from the pathfinder areas are living proof that New Deal transforms lives. I wanted to meet and hear from people who were among the first to experience New Deal and to take on board their comments as part of our drive for continuous improvement. They have made real progress - some have gone from unemployment to management in less than two years. This is what New Deal set out to achieve - to give young people a ladder of opportunity. A good first job, a better job to a career.
"The New Deal has been a success in reducing long-term youth unemployment However, there are still significant numbers of people on New Deal whose most serious barrier to employment is their lack of basic skills. Four out of ten people cannot even read instructions on a medicine bottle. Helping them is part of a 10 point plan to build on the progress of New Deal.

"As part of this plan, we will be stepping up the help available to young people. This will include a compulsory course when they first join New Deal, lasting 2-3 weeks which will ensure all jobseekers can present themselves properly to employers. Those who fail to attend the course will risk losing their benefit where appropriate. In addition, every young person on the New Deal will be screened for literacy and numeracy difficulties and given immediate help to address their needs.

"Business has always backed New Deal - 60,000 employers have signed up. We are building on their experience, developing more ways of getting employers involved and better matching the workers without jobs to the jobs without workers. I am grateful for the advice and support we have had from both the New Deal Taskforce nationally, and local, regional and national employers. We will set up job coaches within firms to offer more support once someone has started work. We will be inviting employers to help design the New Deal locally to meet the specific needs of their business - whether it’s construction or hospitality.

" We will also be developing outreach programmes using intermediary organsations to help people in areas of high unemployment, deprived neighbourhoods and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. I am determined to ensure that this plan will provide the targeted, specialist support needed to provide equal opportunities for all long-term unemployed people to become independent."

Tessa Jowell took twelve young people from the pathfinder areas to meet the Prime Minister at Downing Street to share their experiences of New Deal as part of the celebrations.
Daniel Roper from Wales (one of the pathfinder ‘graduates’) who joined the New Deal in January 1998 said: "I was 19 when I joined New Deal. I had been unemployed for a whole year and really wanted to work in graphic design. Thanks to my New Deal Personal Adviser I was able to find work under the Employment Option with Quintdown Press in Newquay. My boss, John Jay used his first subsidy to buy me some business clothes. That was two years ago. Since then I have become the manager of a second print store and John has taken on two more New Dealers. I have already thanked David Blunkett for all the New Deal has done for me and am happy that I can tell the Prime Minister and Tessa Jowell about how New Deal has helped me."


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