#Workfare: Chancellor’s £128 million Plan to “triple” 6 week and 6 month no wage work-experience placements. Plus the @UKLabour ‘Charter Against Workfare’

In the Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs‘ there is £111 million to triple the number of no wage Work Experience (WE) ‘Traineeship’ placements and £17 million to Triple ‘sector-based work academies’ (SBWA) WE placements. Traineeship WE can last up to six (6) months for young people aged 16-24 year olds. SBWA WE has no age based criteria and can last for six (6) weeks.

For the first time employers will not only get free forced-labour, but they will get £1,000 “per trainee”. Currently ‘Traineeships’ are touted as “a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship“. However, the Traineeships criteria has now been expanded to include Social Security claimants who have a ‘Level 3’ qualification, which bizarrely includes University Diploma students and an “advanced apprenticeship”.

Important note: Traineeships are for people claiming Social Security benefits and those who claim no benefits. SBWA includes #BenefitSanctions for not attending ‘training’ elements and for ‘misconduct’ when undertaking the zero wage workfare experience placement.

To help maintain the UK no wage, low skill and low wage economy, employers will also get £2,000 for hiring a new ‘apprentice‘ under 25 and £1,500 for 25 and over. Employers are being incentivised to exploit young people by creating a traineeship and SBWA #workfare workforce and then ’employ’ them as an ‘apprentice’ paying just £4.15 an hour wage or as employees on a ‘minimum wage‘ of £4.55 an hour (under 18), £6.45 (18-20) or £8.20 (21-24), rather than paying them all at least the real living wage of £10.75 (Greater London) or £9.30 outside London

Section 16(3)(e) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 includes powers to make ‘Work Experience and ‘Work Placements’ mandatory, but the DWP has is not using these powers. Why should the DWP use powers to make forced labour workfare mandatory, when in the last few years activists, orgs and campaigners have shown no or very little interest in Traineeships and SBWA workfare? The DWP has also sought to keep workfare issues under the radar by stopping to collate and publish statistics on “work experience starts” since 2017. Added to this is how naming and shaming of employers exploiting forced-labour ended years ago.

In essence Civil Society is colluding with workfare and interest has only been sparked when the Tory Government mentions it plans to triple funding, begging the question of why it remained unchallenged in recent years?

Half a million work experience and training opportunities snapped up
February 2015


There are excellent resources on youth workfare at Boycott Workfare, Keep Volunteering Voluntary and Johnny Void.

Charter Against Workfare: A Statement of Principles
For any workplace based scheme for benefit claimants

“First, it must be entirely voluntary.

Secondly, there should be real training so that people go away at the end with skills that are relevant to their future employment prospects.

Thirdly, those concerned must have employee status so that they are protected by health and safety and equal opportunities legislation.

Fourthly, they must be paid the rate for the job—not benefit-plus—and,

finally, projects must have trade union approval.”

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:11 pm on 14th December 1987.

Labour Joins Chorus of protest over workfare

Workfare: Why did so many Labour MPs accept this brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people? Labour’s leadership is failing to uphold its party’s values
Independent, Wednesday 20 March 2013