TheSite Leaders have been at it again. Our fortnightly live chats on the Leaders network this week brought us to discussing the Government’s workfare programme with them. The programme is aimed at getting people to volunteer their time in order to be allowed to claim JobSeekers Allowance. We started by asking them what they thought of the programme.
“So….we’re talking 30 hours a week or so – or 53 quid – when a 16-18 year old would earn double that in employment!? What experience do you get from stacking shelves or working at tills?”
“Well, I think it’s a good idea for all the youths who sit around and do nothing but cost society, but they are unlikely to take the work experience placement, so the only people stuck in this would be the ones who are actually trying to gain employment…”
“If the government wants to do something like this, then they should subsidise firms to take on more young people – simple.”
None of the Leaders had heard about these plans before, and that’s possibly because so far the programme is only in its role out stage. So far, it’s been big businesses such as Tesco, Poundland and Sainsbury’s who have taken up the programme.
Are programmes like this going to discourage young people from taking up volunteering altogether if they feel that working at Tesco for free is what volunteering is? One of our Leaders thought:
“I can see the point. But I feel it won’t discourage people from volunteering – there’s a difference between choosing to volunteer and having to volunteer”
It’s important that the voluntary youth sector has a big input into the Government’s work policy for young people because it’s in the sector’s interest to promote the interests of young people and also to have skilled young volunteers who are passionate about their organisations.
We finished the chat with a consultation on some redesigns for one of our websites – this is how volunteering should look; young people who want to share their skills and ideas. Long may it continue.