Friday, January 25, 2008

One in five unemployed are on a training benefit

I have been saying for a while that much of the reason the unemployment benefit numbers are low is because of the amount of people on training benefits. Those on training benefits are excluded from official dole figures. Training benefits last from six weeks to more than a year, depending on the type of training.

About one on five of those who would normally be on the unemployment benefit are on a unemployed training benefit (UBT ), thus significantly skewing the dole figures to a greater extent than those who are transferred from the dole to sickness and invalids benefits.

For example, at the end of June, 23000 were in receipt of an unemployment benefit and 6368 were in receipt of a training benefit. Some are transferred from other benefits like sickness, but these are few. Ths is because training benefits require you to be in training for 30 hours a week and if you can't work 30 hours a week because of depression or whatever, you shouldn't be able to cope with training for that period either - but some slip through.

And what happens after they finished training? What proportion enter sustainable employment? Well, the MSD staff won't say, because they don't know. However they do know that many go on to other training options or onto the sickness or unemployment benefit again. Some get part time jobs and have their benefit abated. But the MSD has no idea how many people get jobs or go to further training such as university as a result of training they put their "clients" though.

It is important to note that these figures do not include those under 18 who would normally be on the independant youth benefit. And given that half all on the unemployment benefit are over 40, and the vast majority of those on training benefits are under 40, this could mean that of all those under 40 who are eligible for the unemployment benefit and are receiving income from Work and Income, up to a quarter could be on training benefits or the reason half of all unemployment beneficaries are over 40 is because fewer of those over 40 are trained because they are tougher to train.

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