From education to employment

£895m to double the number of Work Coaches in Jobcentres

Mims Davies MP

@LearnWorkUK – Employment Minister @MimsDavies issues call to help shape and deliver £2billion Kickstarter Scheme 

The Employment Minister has issued a call for input to help shape the Government’s new £2 billion Kickstarter Scheme, and has called on employers to help make the scheme work. 

Following the announcement of the scheme by the Chancellor of the Exchequer earlier this week (Wednesday 8th), the Minister said she wanted to both learn from what’s gone before, and to get peoples’ input, so that it works both for employers and for young people.

The Kickstarter Scheme involves a wage subsidy for employers who take on young people aged 16 – 24. It was the centrepiece of the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ which aims to respond to the surge in unemployment triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking at the Employment and Skills Convention, the Minister also called for employers to get involved by offering high quality job opportunities for young people.

Davies highlighted the ‘unprecedented’ scale of work involved in responding to the crisis, including:

  • Processing over 2.5 million Universal Credit claims;
  • Delivering over 1 million advanced payments;
  • Making over 250,000 calls to new jobseekers each week.

The Minister said that she was ‘overwhelmingly proud’ of DWP staff in responding to the crisis.

As part of the next phase, the Government has invested £895m to double the number of Work Coaches in Jobcentres. The Minister said that this will involve recruiting an additional 13,500 Jobcentre Plus workers by March 2021.

The event – hosted by Learning and Work Institute and watched by over 1,000 participants – also heard from Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, who argued that ‘the time has come’ for further devolution of employment and skills powers and funding in order to drive the recovery. The Mayor called for the devolution of the Kickstarter Scheme, arguing that a ‘bottom-up’ approach would be better able to respond to the needs of local employers, create job opportunities, and integrate support.

With over 300,000 furloughed workers in Greater Manchester, the Mayor also warned of a further increase in unemployment when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends at the end of October. He called for a flexible extension of the scheme to support sectors unable to operate fully by the time the scheme closes.

The event also heard from Gillian Keegan MP, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, who highlighted additional investment in apprenticeships including a £2,000 bonus for employers who hire apprentices aged under 25.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said:

“Our Plan for Jobs will turn our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal, and we all have a part to play in helping to get Britain into work.

“Being able to speak directly to the businesses and organisations that can help shape our support for young people is crucial to developing our offer and creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs that will ensure no generation is lost.”

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

The Coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented economic crisis. Learning and Work Institute research has shown we may be on course to see the highest unemployment since the wake of the Great Depression.

“We’ve been calling for a ‘Plan for Jobs’, and we’re pleased the Government has announced the next stage in their plan this week. We need to ensure this is put in place as quickly and effectively as possible to limit the increase in unemployment and help get Britain back to work.

“We have also called on the government to turn its attention to supporting the millions of adults who are at risk of unemployment as the furlough scheme unwinds, by offering a comprehensive package of support to help them find work, retrain and change careers.”

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