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Thousands of jobless Brits are poised to be offered spots in ‘skills bootcamps’ to fill the employment void left by overseas workers, the Government has announced.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride has stated that those receiving benefits will be trained for roles in sectors suffering from labour shortages, including hospitality, care, construction, and manufacturing.

Addressing the public from a jobcentre in central London, the Cabinet minister stressed that Britain’s dependence on foreign labour “for too long” must end, vowing to “unleash Britain’s hidden army of talent”.

He also unveiled plans to reform the welfare system, with a consultation on revamping the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) scheme, which could see its current £737 monthly payments replaced with therapeutic support and equipment to help individuals overcome health challenges and join the workforce.

This renewed focus on getting British citizens back into employment comes as the Home Office tightens immigration rules, introducing measures such as barring overseas care workers from bringing family members, hiking the salary threshold for skilled jobs to £38,700, and imposing tougher conditions for UK earners below the average wage to sponsor foreign spouses.

Mr Stride commented: “I know this presents a recruitment challenge for some employers in certain sectors, particularly those that have relied more on migration in the past, but this is also a huge opportunity for the thousands of jobseekers within our domestic workforce to move into roles that have previously been filled by overseas workers. I see no reason why a British worker cannot be a care worker.”

The Government’s fresh strategy includes the creation of a taskforce dedicated to ramping up recruitment in sectors experiencing acute shortages.

Spearheaded by Mr Stride, the taskforce brings together ministers from key departments such as the Home Office, Treasury, Department for Education, and Department for Business and Trade, and will implement tactics akin to those used during the HGV driver crisis, including skills bootcamps and jobcentre training programmes, reports Plymouth Live.

This renewed focus on getting British citizens back into employment comes as the Home Office tightens immigration rules, introducing measures such as barring overseas care workers from bringing family members, hiking the salary threshold for skilled jobs to £38,700, and imposing tougher conditions for UK earners below the average wage to sponsor foreign spouses, as reported by Birmingham Live.

Mr Stride commented: “I know this presents a recruitment challenge for some employers in certain sectors, particularly those that have relied more on migration in the past, but this is also a huge opportunity for the thousands of jobseekers within our domestic workforce to move into roles that have previously been filled by overseas workers. I see no reason why a British worker cannot be a care worker.”

The Government’s fresh strategy includes the creation of a taskforce dedicated to ramping up recruitment in sectors experiencing acute shortages. Spearheaded by Mr Stride, the taskforce brings together ministers from key departments such as the Home Office, Treasury, Department for Education, and Department for Business and Trade, and will implement tactics akin to those used during the HGV driver crisis, including skills bootcamps and jobcentre training programmes, reports Plymouth Live.

During a press Q&A after his speech, when asked about the practical application of these initiatives, Mr Stride elaborated that they are “short, focused” training courses often developed with input from industry professionals.

He elaborated: “It is just a simple fact that if you can get somebody who’s willing and incentivised to work and you give them those skills over a short period of time, you can make a real movement of the dial in terms of having people go into those areas of employment.”

“My message to businesses is clear: our Jobcentre teams stand ready to help you find the right candidate, and we want to work with you to overcome recruitment challenges.

“And my message is also to the British people. For too long we have relied on labour from abroad when there is great talent right here in the UK I am determined to put that right.”

He suggested that a significant overhaul of welfare is needed, highlighting that PIP, the main disability benefit, is “creaking under the weight of the profound changes we’ve seen in the nature of disability”.

The DWP is mulling over changes to the eligibility and assessment criteria for the benefit, which could mean individuals with depression or anxiety may no longer receive regular cash payments of up to £9,500 a year, instead possibly being offered therapy as an alternative.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Alison McGovern slammed the government’s approach, stating: “Talking shops and billboards do not even scratch the surface of what is needed to get Britain working. The Tories should be prioritising proper plans to tackle worker shortages and adopting Labour’s plan to connect the immigration system to skills.”

“The Tories cannot be the change from their own failings. It is Labour who have the plan to get Britain working by cutting NHS waiting lists, reforming job centres, making work pay and supporting people into good jobs across every part of the country.”

Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokeswoman Wendy Chamberlain has lambasted the Government’s approach, stating: “In many ways this is an admission that the Conservatives have no plan to tackle the biggest reason that people are unable to work, which is that NHS waiting lists are through the roof.

“Thousands are struggling to access the healthcare they need, meaning people are unable to go back to work.”

She further criticised the Conservative administration for its handling of the health service: “This Conservative Government has neglected our NHS, which is continuing to damage the country’s economic recovery. We will only get the economy back fighting fit by fixing the health crisis.”

In a scathing attack on the Government’s proposal for bootcamps for the unemployed, Unison, the public service union, described it as a “desperate attempt to distract voters from Government care failings”.

Unison’s head of social care, Gavin Edwards, condemned the idea, saying: “There’s nothing wrong with promoting social care as a career and offering proper training to try to attract new recruits to the crisis-stricken sector.

“But forcing the unemployed off benefits and into caring roles, while keeping pay rates low, simply won’t work. Most people will neither want to do the jobs, nor be remotely suited to them. This latest foolish idea shows ministers are clueless about how to fix care.”

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