Over 1000 young people have been thrown into chaos after Carillion’s collapse. Because the outsourcing giant was also “the second largest provider of construction apprenticeships in England” with public contracts worth £6.5m. And those Carillion apprentices will soon be out of work.
Out of work
On 29 January, skills minister Anne Milton, said that “apprentices would only be paid until the end of January”. So until these young people can find new employment they will be out of work.
Labour MP Angela Rayner said:
Absolute disgrace! This simply isn’t good enough. Tory ministers had promised that these apprentices were being taken back in-house &that they were doing everything to keep them in training. But now they admit that they could stop being paid within a week. https://t.co/f71PhR4XHA
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) January 29, 2018
The Construction Industry Training Board says only 533 of the “company’s 1,400 former apprentices have received new job offers”.
But the implications of this run deeper, because over 90% of these apprentices are 16-18 years old. This age group has no entitlement to benefits. And benefit cuts under the Conservative government mean that those aged over 18 can’t claim housing benefit either.
Apprenticeships are the only opportunity available for many young people. And the collapse of Carillion comes only months after the announcement that privatised Learndirect will lose its contracts with the Department for Education.
Even with secure apprenticeships available, this age group faces rising challenges under the current government:
- Benefit changes in March 2017 removed housing benefit entitlement for 18-to-21-year-olds.
- “Connexions, the government-funded careers advice programme, was axed in 2012.”
- Spending on mental health services for children and young people has been cut by nearly £50m.
- The 2017 Youth Index report [pdf, p5] revealed “that many young people feel that they have no control over their lives, are full of self-doubt and feel trapped by their circumstances.”
- As The Canary previously reported, interest rates on student loans have soared. Many young people are reluctant to take on large debt by going to university.
Not good enough
These are young people starting out in their careers and they have no idea if they will have apprenticeships this time next week. It’s simply not good enough – the government has a duty of care to these people. They should give a guarantee these people gain the skills to become Britain’s future workforce.
It’s likely that the fallout from the Carillion collapse has only just started. But it’s shocking that young people are paying the price of corporate greed.
Update: This article was amended at 2.50pm on 31 January. Learndirect has not “collapsed” but will lose its contracts with the Department for Education.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?