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12 December 2012
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of disability charity Scope said:
"The right work experience can make a real difference for people struggling find a job - and that includes disabled people.
"People tell us they really value the chance to do work experience in our shops. It's a chance to learn retail and customer service skills, build confidence and get used to being in a working environment.
"We have always been very conscious of concerns about mandatory work experience. We only continued with it because we found that the people on placements in our charity shops had really positive experiences.
"The news that ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants, often out-of-work disabled people who need specialist support to get back into work, are now being included in the scheme, has forced us to once again review our involvement.
"These moves do not feel like they have been designed around what disabled people need to find work. Added to that we also have concerns about the test that disabled people go through to establish how fit-for-work they are.
"We have therefore taken the decision to withdraw from these placements entirely.
"However, like many other charities who had previously withdrawn from these placements, we still want to give as many people as possible the chance to do work experience in our shops and we're currently exploring new ways we can do this, outside from any benefit sanction regimes."