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£2 billion Kickstart programme launch is urgently needed and welcome

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute
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Evidence shows government-subsidised wage schemes can be successful in times of economic crisis 

The launch of the government’s £2 billion Kickstart programme today (2 Sept) is urgently needed and welcome. With numbers of unemployed young people already soaring, and many more due to lose their jobs when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end in October, preventing a further rise in youth unemployment must be a top priority for government.

Evidence from previous programmes, such as the Future Jobs Fund, shows that government-subsidised wage schemes can be successful in times of economic crisis. However, the design and delivery of such schemes are crucial to their success and the impact they can achieve.

Double whammy of a disrupted education and a difficult labour market 

The scale of the challenge is immense. In order to avert a youth unemployment crisis, Kickstart needs to provide hundreds of thousands of additional job opportunities in a short period of time, in the midst of the deepest recession on record. 

Local authorities, in particular, have an important role to play in bringing employers together to create high-quality jobs – with opportunities for training and development – in areas hit hardest by the crisis.

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Months into the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that today’s young people face a double whammy of a disrupted education and a difficult labour market. If we are to protect them from the lasting scarring effects of long term unemployment, we must ensure that every job created through this scheme is accompanied by the right advice and support to launch young people into a successful career.

We look forward to working with government and local stakeholders to make this a reality.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute

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