Benefits are a safety-net, not a way of life


Last week, the government unveiled plans to introduce boot camps for young people out of work, to teach them the skills necessary to make them employable.

Under the ‘earn or learn’ programme, the government will set out plans for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 to be placed on an intensive activity programme within the first three weeks of submitting a claim.

They will get a personal mentor who will help them look for the right jobs, as well as the training to make any able-bodied young person employable.

These proposals have faced a heap of criticism over the past week, with claims that the move is punishing young people instead of supporting them. As someone who is in the age bracket of 18-21 and is working and studying at the same time, I  can say that criticism of these plans is unjust.

Actually, criticism of this move is ridiculous.

If young people are working or in University then they should get all the benefits they are entitled to. However, the government shouldn’t cater for the laziness of younger people.

In the grand scheme of things, a three week course isn’t much. Three weeks is all it takes to learn vocational skills, in order for you to get a job and be able to support yourself. Recently Barnardo’s said young people need to feel supported instead of feeling punished, but if the boot camps don’t exist then benefits will just be supporting laziness and a life on welfare. Surely it is better for young people’s confidence and esteem to feel pushed and believed in rather than to be left alone.

The boot camps are not a form of punishment, it is supporting young people and propelling them into a woking life and not a life of scrounging off the tax-payer. Young people who complain about these boot camps are work-shy and they are making excuses to not work.

There are enough options for young people these days: University, College, apprenticeships, work placements etc. it’s not fair on those who get up and go to work to support the people who just can’t be bothered.

My family are not the smartest bunch. Most of them have bounced from job to job without too many qualifications to brag about. But none of them have ever signed on, or ever had to survive off benefits. They have all got up in the morning and gone to work in order to provide.

I believe that the ‘get up and go’ attitude has eluded a lot of my generation.

I understand many young people are not academic and don’t thrive in a classroom environment. But the boot camps are the perfect answer.

There is a difference between academic and on the job training. Anybody is capable of learning and being successful, as long as they develop the drive and determination to get up in the morning to go and be successful.

Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “we need to make sure that a life on benefits is simply not an option,” and that is exactly what the government needs to do.

A lifestyle that is dependant on welfare and benefits isn’t acceptable. Welfare dependancy is a disease that has been passed down from generation to generation, and these boot camps could well be the cure that young people so desperately need.

It is difficult to look forward in time, but my parents and grandparents always say they wish they tried harder in school. Young people may have finished school and chose not to go to sixth form, college or University for whatever reason, but there are still ways to become employable and learn the skills to be able to earn a living.

The boot camps are a way of creating a future for young people, and without them, the future might not look so bright.


Charlie Atkinson

Reporter for Business Matters Magazine

Reporter for Business Matters Magazine