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The first results from one of the largest employment consultation exercises ever undertaken have been published. ...
The first results from one of the largest employment consultation exercises ever undertaken have been published.

Based on the views of representatives of hundreds of organisations attending one of three national conferences to discuss how best the government's `New Deal' for the young and long-term unemployed might be implemented, the findings represent an overwhelming endorsement for the `New Deal' revolution.

More than 600 businesses and organisations attended the national conferences at the end of July and the regional conferences saw more than 3,500 representatives expressing interest and desire to help deliver the `New Deal'.

Employment minister Alan Howarth, welcoming the findings, said:

'This consultation reflects the essence of what the `New Deal' is about. That is a partnership between government, the employment service and people in thousands of businesses and organisations up and down the country who want to play their part in a major drive to address the problem of youth and long-term unemployment.

'After years of rampant individualism, widening inequality, deepening poverty and the devil take the hindmost, there is a deep desire in Britain that we should be one nation; a society in which we care for one another, take responsibility for one another and act on the recognition that the exclusion of some blights us all.

'The `New Deal' will be qualitatively and quantitatively quite different and better than any previous programme in the field of unemployment. Its hallmark will be quality at all levels. This quality will, in turn, provide the credibility vital in convincing the young and long-term unemployed of the benefits they can gain from taking part in `New Deal'.

'This national consultation and the subsequent regional conferences, the findings of which will soon be made known, represent the first

stage in delivering a New Deal that can and will succeed.

'That success will be based upon local communities and the businesses and organisations within those communities working together to provide solutions. I and the minister of state Andrew Smith are delighted that so many businesses and organisations have taken part and will take their advice forward into the detailed policy design

work over the coming months.'

Main findings from the national consultation include:

The Gateway process will be vital to all options.

It will be important to build upon existing, effective local arrangements.

There is a need for flexibility to meet the needs of large and small employers and support for those employers if they are to implement

the `New Deal' effectively.

Simple administrative procedures must be put in place.

Opportunities to take up the environmental option must feature the chance to develop transferable skills.

Local flavour and flexibility are vital. There is a need to recognise the different skills and expertise which different partners can bring. The voluntary sector has experience and expertise to offer.

Work experience should form part of the education and training opportunity.

Employability would be enhanced by the availability of the widest range of courses and work experience.

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