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Job Centre Plus needs private sector support says apprenticeship campaigner

Failing UK job centres desperately need ‘a kick in the pants' from the private sector according to Will Davies the co-founder of property maintenance and refurbishment company aspect.co.uk

"Job Centres are quite simply failing job seekers and especially young job seekers," said Mr Davies who is a long term campaigner for apprenticeship reform.

"Young people can spend months with Job Centre staff but when they turn up for job interviews at aspect.co.uk sometimes they don't even have a current CV," he said.

A report published by the ‘think-tank' Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) called for the £1.4bn-a-year network of state run job centres to be remodelled along the lines of the Australian model where private and voluntary organisations bid for contracts to assist the unemployed find work.

The CSJ criticise Job Centres for spending too much time concentrating on arranging benefit claims and do not work hard enough to find claimants work or assess why they are unable to find it.

The report also points out that the main focus of Job Centre Plus is to remove claimants from the jobseekers allowance register and not whether they find jobs.

"There are over one million young unemployed in this country and they are becoming totally demoralised by the job market. They have to be given confidence in the training and apprenticeships we can offer them. Otherwise, we will be dealing the financial ramifications of our failure for decades to come," said Mr Davies - who has campaigned for many years for the re-structuring of the apprenticeship system in the UK.

"I can only urge other employers that if they can give young people an opportunity to demonstrate how keen they are to work; they will be astonished with the results," said Mr Davies - who was a an investment banker before creating aspect.co.uk.

aspect.co.uk has created a system of apprentice boot camps to select candidates for their own apprenticeships. Youngsters are put through a series of fitness, literacy and numeracy tests.

The most recent of boot camps took place last month when aspect.co.uk joined forces with GoThinkBig (www.gothinkbig.co.uk) campaign which encouraged young people to find work.

"The individuals who were prepared to contribute the most to a boot camp were the individuals who aspect.co.uk benefited most from employing," said Mr Davies.