In response to today’s report by the Work and Pensions Select Committee on employment opportunities for young people, ERSA’s Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh, said:

“Today’s report is welcome, not least because the Youth Obligation is due to roll out in three days without any government consultation. Frontline experts have been denied a formal say in government proposals which will impact the life chances of young people across the UK. This is unacceptable and the Committee’s recommendations, reached through listening to young people and experts, should therefore be agreed.

“With details of the Youth Obligation still unknown, despite the April deadline, ERSA has significant concerns regarding Jobcentre Plus’s capacity to effectively deliver the Youth Obligation in UC full service areas, let alone all jobcentres. Furthermore, it is vital that the government clarifies any mandation attached to the work placements as a matter of urgency, ensuring that young people participate in a high quality and positive, not punitive, programme.

“The report recognises the importance of specialist external support, which ERSA knows successfully supports young people to achieve positive outcomes. The government must make this a priority in the new youth employment programme.”