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Future of work - finding work and gaining the skills you need - A Plan for Jobs

When it comes to finding work and gaining the skills you need, the governments new Plan for Jobs scheme announced in recent employment news, could be just what you need. 

Following on from our recent ‘What does the new Plan for Jobs mean for you’ article, this time we will be delving deeper into the supporting jobs section of the Plan for Jobs initiative. 

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has soared from 22 thousand to 2.6 million this June, but Government figures now show that young people in particular absorbed the worst of the unemployment shockwaves. 10% of 18-24 year olds have reported joblessness and a record 538,000 under-25s claimed Universal Credit in lockdown.2 

In some respects, this is no surprise - Young people aged 18-25 predominantly occupy the hardest hit job sectors including leisure, travel, hospitality and retail leaving many out of work or furloughed, while thousands of graduates simultaneously began their job hunt this summer too.

As we emerge from lockdown, we are seeing many employers embracing new remote ways of working but for young people without the equipment, space or experience needed to work from home, finding work could be harder than ever before. 

Plan for Jobs is the second phase of the governments staged recovery from Coronavirus (COVID-19) plan and is tailor made specifically to help individuals find work and gain the skills they need. The Supporting Jobs section of the Plan for Jobs scheme looks to provide four key provisions, mainly with a view to assist those in the 18 to 24 year age bracket:

Job Retention Bonus

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far supported over one million employers to protect over 9 million jobs. The scheme has been open since March, and will wind down flexibly and gradually, supporting businesses until October. 

Kickstart Scheme

Kickstart Scheme – A £2 billion fund has been earmarked to create hundreds of thousands 6-month work placements for those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. 

Boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships

New funding for National Careers Service – The government will provide an additional £32 million funding over the next 2 years for the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work. 

High quality traineeships for young people

An additional £111 million this year for traineeships in England, to fund high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds. 

Kickstart scheme

A £2 billion fund has been earmarked to create hundreds of thousands 6-month work placements for those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. 

What is the Kickstart scheme? 

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship. Employers can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. 

The government will fund 100% of wages based on 25 hours per week at National Minimum Wage plus NI and pensions. Employers can also claim £1,500 per job placement to cover setup costs, support and training.

The scheme opened to employer applicants on 2nd September 2020 and will run until at least December 2021 spanning the entire UK.

The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies.
  • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The roles employers are creating under the scheme must be:

  • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months.
  • paying at least the National Minimum Wage for the age group.
  • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.

When completing an application to join the kickstart scheme the employer needs to detail how they will help you to develop your skills and experience, including:

  • Supporting you with looking for long-term work, including providing career advice and assistance with setting goals.
  • Supporting you with developing your CV and helping with interview preparations.
  • Supporting you with learning basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

The job placements are on 6 month terms, but new candidates can fill the position once the previous term has come to an end. Participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement has ended.

What does the Kickstart scheme mean for me? 

Kickstart jobs are designed to build your skills in the workplace and help you to gain experience to improve your chances of finding long-term work. 

Employers who are providing more than 30 jobs can apply to the scheme directly with a relatively simple process, these are likely to be large organisations. Any business offering under between 1 and 30 jobs will have to team up with other similar businesses to reach 30+ positions and qualify for the scheme as a group. 

Jobcentre staff will be looking out for people at risk of long-term unemployment and will refer them to the scheme. Then Jobcentre work coaches will support candidates before and after their placement.

Ideally, the business will continue to employ you following the designated six-months, provided that the economy is in a more stable position. However, even if they do not, the idea is that you will come out with high-quality training and relevant experience to facilitate career progression and long-term employment.

The Government aims to have the first Kickstart placements on offer from November.

Will the Kickstart scheme work? 

We may gain insight into how successful the Kickstarter scheme will be by looking back to employment trends and other previous initiatives. A similar back-to-work type scheme, called the Future Jobs Fund (FJF) was introduced by the former prime minister Gordon Brown following the economic collapse of 2008. 

The Future Jobs Fund (FJF) was introduced in October 2009 to support the creation of 170,000 subsidised jobs for unemployed young people who were at a disadvantage on the job market. 

The programme was primarily aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), with a smaller number of places available to JSA claimants aged over 24 in unemployment hotspots. Official Statistics indicated that between October 2009 and March 2011, just over 105,000 jobs were created under the FJF.3 

The programme cost approximately £680 million, in comparison, the Kickstarter scheme has a budget of 2 billion pounds. 

A Department for Work and Pensions study concluded that it was successful in preparing participants for work and had some positive long-lasting effects. However, it also noted that some participants did not receive focus on how to get a job after they had completed the FJF so the key to ensuring success from this new Kickstart scheme will fall with you, the employee. To maximise your learning, to draw as much as you possibly can from the experience and to use it to benefit your future work prospects. 

How do I apply for a Kickstart job?

For those seeking employment and on Universal Credit, the Jobcentre is the place to be. Jobcentre staff will be looking out for people at risk of long-term unemployment and will be referring them to the scheme. 

You can ‘kickstart’ this by reaching out to your work coach and asking to be referred to the scheme. You will be supported by your work coach throughout and after your placement ends. 

What if I can’t get a Kickstart job?

Even if you are not eligible or put forward to take part in the Kickstart scheme you can still develop your own skills in your own time and give your job seeking efforts a boost. There is a wealth of job seeker resources on our Blue Arrow website, many of which fit under the Kickstart job criteria sections:

1. Supporting you with looking for long-term work, including providing career advice and assistance with setting goals.

2. Supporting you with developing your CV and helping with interview preparations.

3. Supporting you with learning basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

Boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships

New funding for National Careers Service – The government will provide an additional £32 million funding over the next 2 years for the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work. 

What is the National Careers Service?

The National Careers Service is a publicly funded careers service for adults and young people aged 13 or over. The National Careers Service provides information, advice and guidance on learning, training, career choice, career development and job hunting delivered by qualified, impartial careers advisers. 

How can the National Careers Service help me?

The National Careers Service offers support with:

  • Identifying key strengths and skills.
  • Searching and applying for jobs.
  • CV writing and completing application forms.
  • Understanding the job market.
  • Interview techniques.
  • Searching for courses and training schemes.
  • Finding funding to support learning.
  • Finding out about volunteering opportunities to develop work skills.
  • Exploring career options.
  • Choosing training routes.
  • Developing a plan for career goals.

The new funding under the Plan for Jobs scheme is not intended to create any major shifts in how the National Careers Service works, more it is intended to recruit additional Career Advisors and provide bespoke advice and career guidance for over a quarter of a million more people. 

The new policy has identified priority groups that include:

  • Those aged 19 or over, or 18 and out of education, employment or training and living or working in England.
  • Low-skilled adults without a level 2 qualification.
  • Adults who have been unemployed for more than 12 months.
  • Single parents with at least one dependent child living in the same household.
  • Adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • Adults aged 50 years and over who are unemployed or at demonstrable risk of unemployment.

As the National Careers Service is publicly funded, all services are offered free of charge and can be accessed online, by telephone and face-to-face. 

How to contact National Career Service

Text 

Text your name and the word ADVICE to 07766 413219. An adviser will call you back for free.

Face to Face 

Call 0800 100 900 to find out if you're eligible for a face-to-face appointment with an adviser.

Phone

Call 0800 100 900 to speak to an adviser. Lines are open from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week. Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.

Webchat

Contact an adviser using webchat. This service is open from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

High quality traineeships for young people

An additional £111 million has been earmarked for traineeships in England, to fund high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds from September 2020. 

The number of people starting traineeships has been declining gradually, from a high of 24,100 in 2015-16 down to 14,900 in 2018, according to figures from the Department for Education.1 Under the £111m scheme, firms in England will be given £1,000 for each new work experience place they offer. This new funding could re-ignite the traineeship offering and encourage more employers to offer ongoing traineeship placements improving the future of work prospects for all young adults coming out of education.

What is a traineeship?

Traineeships provide classroom-based lessons in maths, English and CV writing, as well as up to 90 hours of unpaid work experience. Traineeships are aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds and can last from six weeks up to six months. 

A traineeship work placement aims to provide you with the following:

  • Safe, meaningful and high-quality work experience.
  • 60-90 hours work experience.
  • Constructive feedback and advice.
  • An interview for an apprenticeship or job at the end of the traineeship if one is available.
  • An exit interview at the end of the traineeship with meaningful written feedback if no job is available.

A traineeship is a training programme not a job. Employers are not required to pay you for the work placement, but they can support you with expenses such as transport and meals.

You may also get:

  • financial support for travel, childcare or a disability from your training provider.
  • support from your local Jobcentre Plus if you are eligible for work benefits.
  • you can maintain your entitlement to benefits whilst on a traineeship. 

How is a traineeship different to an apprenticeship? 

Employers are not required to pay trainees for a work placement, unlike apprenticeships where the minimum wage rate is £4.15 per hour. On an apprenticeship, a person is employed to do work while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week, either at a college or training centre over a number of years.

If you already have some work experience, you may be ready for an apprenticeship. Read our National Apprenticeship Week blog for more information.

How do I find a Traineeship?

You can find a Traineeship:

  • on the HMRC find a traineeship page.
  • by speaking to your Jobcentre Plus adviser if you’re in receipt of benefits.
  • by asking your local college or training provider if they have opportunities.
  • by speaking to your school careers advisers if you’re 16 to 18 years old.

Many training providers and colleges advertise their own Traineeship programmes but do not always advertise the employer led work placement vacancies which are found on the gov.uk site. They do this because they like to be led by the young person’s preferences before securing the employer placement ensuring the programme is tailored to their needs. 

For more information on Traineeships call 0800 0150 400.

Where next?

You can keep up to date with the latest blogs, employment news, information, tips, tricks, jobs and advice by subscribing to one of our newsletters.

References

1 HMRC [Internet] 16 July 2020  https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-apprenticeships#apprenticeship-and-traineeships-annual-data

2 House of Commons Library [Internet] 11 August 2020 https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn05871/

3 UK Parliament [Internet] https://old.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05352.pdf

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