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SMEs can save Governments crisis hit work experience scheme

SME’s can save Government’s crisis hit work experience scheme

Burger King became the latest chain to withdraw from the governments crisis hit & lsquo;Get Britain Working’ programme but a leading UK entrepreneur has spoken out in support of the scheme saying that it can be successful when applied to the Small and Medium Sized (SME) business environment.

Gary David Smith - co-founder of Prism Total IT Solutions – said: “SME’s have always been targeted by individuals seeking work experience because the student stands a far greater chance of actually getting to speak to the decision maker.”

“Work experience in an SME is more likely to involve shadowing someone who completes more than one function as so the & lsquo;free labour’ criticism just doesn’t stack up in the SME community.”

Under the governments & lsquo;Get Britain Working’ programme 18- to 24-year-olds who have been unemployed for more than three months can work unpaid on a four-week placement but are allowed to continue claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance. Their employer’s may or may not provide help with travel expenses or childcare costs.

The & lsquo;Get Britain Working’ scheme has come under a barrage of criticism: largely created by a well orchestrated twitter campaign.

Superdrug, Maplin’s, mental health charity Mind, Waterstones, Sainsbury’s and Burger King have all turned their backs of the scheme and Tesco’s have said that they would start to pay youngsters on work experience programmes.

Critics have labeled the programme a source of & lsquo;slave labour’ and say that it is open to abuse from employers who can use the scheme to provide & lsquo;free’ work and actually reduce the number of real jobs available for young people.

Human rights lawyers have also threatened to sue any company taking part in the government scheme.

“It has to be remembered that at the end of the day we are all trying to get young people into work,” said Gary David Smith whose company supplies complete IT support to over 1000 SME’s nationwide.
“We have not taken part in the scheme but the individuals who have come to Prism have been in no position to successfully hold down employment when they arrived and require constant hand holding. But out of half-a-dozen placements three have been recruited full-time.”

“Properly managed work experience placements definitely do have a beneficial role to play in the SME environment,” he said.

“Some SME’s can feel that employment legislation is stacked against them. Employer confidence will play a big part in creating new jobs and work placements allow an employer to get a real & lsquo;feel’ for a potential employee – far more so than a simple interview.”

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