In a very welcome move in last week’s SFA Update, it was announced that from last Friday 27th March, young people aged between 16 and 19 would in future be able to claim JSA throughout their period on Traineeships. Following the abolition of the 16-hour rule on study time in Traineeships, and a relaxation of the rules surrounding work experience placements at the beginning of the academic year whereby those on Traineeships could participate in work experience for up to 300 hours as opposed to a strict limit of 8 calendar weeks, these latest moves represent another response by DWP to AELP’s continuing lobbying for changes to benefit rules to increase the flexibility of Traineeships and bring down disincentives to participation amongst young people.
In a separate move it was also announced that SFA and EFA had removed the requirement for sub-contractors delivering Traineeships to hold an Ofsted Grade 1 or 2, enabling those with a Grade 3 to commence delivery as well. AELP has also been lobbying on this matter for some time, arguing that overall Ofsted gradings are too blunt a tool to be used in this way given that it is the lead contractor’s responsibility to assure quality of delivery overall, and that this rule merely constrained levels of potential participation at a time when there is a drive to increase Traineeship uptake. The new rules will come into force from April 1st 2015.