Putting the Government’s plan for jobs into action

With the furlough scheme coming to an end on 31st October, we may begin to see the truest picture yet of the economic fallout and the impact on jobs as a result of coronavirus and extended periods of lockdown.

Although it has been shown that young people have been disproportionally affected by coronavirus related unemployment, the support needs of individuals across the board will be varied. Young people who expected to embark upon a career or apprenticeship, following the completion of their formal education, will need the right support to find and secure these opportunities that are now scarcer, or to find a new direction entirely.

Additionally, there will be an increase in support needed for young people who had planned to go to university but are now no longer able to so. This includes those who may not have gained the marks which they needed, have decided against the route due to ongoing safety concerns, or they simply cannot afford to sustain themselves with few opportunities for part-time work upon which so many students rely.

There are many people from older demographics who will also need guidance as they re-enter the workplace. This might be because of an extended break, such as redundancy or having spent a long time in a career that may no longer be viable, at least in the immediate present, such as roles in the hospitality or travel sector. They will need support to retrain in a different sector or upskill in certain areas, for example developing their digital skills.

Funding and guidance

There have been several initiatives launched as direct combative measures to mitigate the expected damage to the jobs market. Educators, providers, and employers are tasked with being both agile and innovative in order to assist the growing number of people who may be out of work. Supporting everyone at an individual level is by no means an easy task and, although the funding and support options are complex and numerous, this will hopefully give providers the opportunity to address individuals with support tailored to their needs.

This list is intended to look at the more pertinent jobs and education support for providers and employers. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but a simplified round up to provide a snapshot of relevant support that is available that you may wish to explore further. As things are changing at pace, it is important that any information is confirmed using the latest guidance.

Apprenticeships cash incentive

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, employers are being offered £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each newly recruited apprentice aged 25 and over. This includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant.

The cash boost is designed to support employers to cover the cost of recruiting an apprentice such as providing facilities, uniforms, helping with travel costs or to help pay their salary.

This new cash incentive for employers is on top of the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18 year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Traineeships

Traineeships are programmes of learning that equip young people with the skills they need to get into work or an apprenticeship. The Government will provide an additional £111 million this year for Traineeships in England. This funding is enough to triple participation in traineeships.

Procurement process is now open for AEB funded 19-24 traineeships

The procurement process for funding is now open until 5pm on Wednesday 28th October for 19-24 adult education budget (AEB) funded traineeships of which a total of £65million has been divided per region. The anticipated service start date is 1st February 2021. 

Source gov.uk

As well as the additional funding for traineeships, the Government announced new flexibilities and opportunities designed to strengthen traineeships and widen access to them for young people. Young people qualified up to level 3 (rather than up to level 2, as previous) are now eligible for a traineeship, a more flexible work experience offer of minimum 70 hours, with multiple employers if needed, increased AEB traineeship learning aim funding of £1,500 and traineeships can now last up to 12 months, allowing twice as much time on a programme for those young people who need it.

Kickstart Scheme

The ‘Kickstart Scheme’ is a £2 billion fund which will create thousands of 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24 who are currently claiming Universal Credit. The scheme has been launched to encourage economic growth whilst supporting social mobility. Employers from all industries and across the private, public, and voluntary sectors are eligible. All sizes of companies, including sole traders, can participate. Previously, only businesses employing 30 or more placements would be eligible for this scheme, however, SMEs can now apply for this funding for 1-29 placements by partnering with a recognised intermediary organisation.

Funding available for each job is £1,500 and will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. This can also be used for things such as set-up costs, support, reasonable adjustments for employees and relevant employability training for the participant.

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement. Job roles are currently scheduled to commence in November; however, this may change.

Placements must be for new jobs and cannot be a replacement for existing vacancies or displace current employees. A Jobcentre Plus Work Coach will monitor the new employee with periodic check-ins.

We’re ready to support your delivery

When putting this plan for jobs into action, providers and employers not only need to firstly understand the latest package of measures quickly, but also be ready to move to implement them. As with all education provision, it should be of the highest quality possible and appropriate to the learner.

The initiatives contain familiar funding conditions and quality assurance measures such as initial assessment and the ability to evidence distance travelled as well as being subject to the Education Inspection Framework. Providers will need to be sure that whatever programme of learning or support initiative used to support the learner is appropriate to their needs.

Initial assessment of learners will be crucial to understand their current working at level, something which may have been affected by long periods of lockdown, in areas such as English and maths, digital skills and employability skills. Assessment of employability skills will be of importance for those who need to retrain in a new sector or for young people entering the workplace for the first time.

Skills Forward is ready to help you to enhance your bids and tenders with online initial assessment tools, as well as our eLearning resources to support delivery, and detailed reports to evidence your compliance and learner success. The needs of your organisation, your locality and your learners will be different and how you manage this will be very personal. Our team is available to consult with you on how to make the most of these measures so that they work for you.

Get in touch with the team for a consultation by email: eLearning@skillsforward.co.uk.

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