Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has joined some of Britain’s largest employers by signing up to offer voluntary work experience.
The move comes as a boost to the programme, which has attracted criticism for docking the benefits of 220 people who committed misconduct while on the eight-week scheme, or quit without a valid reason.
The government has since restructured the programme to make it fully voluntary, so that there is no loss of Jobseekers Allowance for those that refuse placement.
“We see this initiative as an opportunity to help give young people some valuable experience of advanced manufacturing,” Airbus said in a company statement.
It continued: “We envisage young people on the scheme having several weeks training followed by the opportunity to shadow experienced workers at our sites – an opportunity which we believe will give them first-hand experience of UK manufacturing and help make them more attractive to employers.”
The Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling, commented that by joining the scheme, Airbus will be “helping our young unemployed people get their first vital step into employment.”
Following protests at Tesco and McDonald’s, with claims that the scheme amounts to “slave labour”, Mr Grayling said that “despite the persistent campaign against the work experience scheme over the last two weeks, over 200 small or medium-sized enterprises have contacted us about getting involved.”
The government has stated that there have only been 220 cases of sanctions being imposed on jobseekers’ benefits out of the 34,200 people that have taken part.