With the news this week that unemployment surged to 4.5% by August as pandemic hits jobs, this is the highest UK unemployment rate in three years. There is also clear data showing redundancies have risen to their highest level since 2009. The Office for National Statistics states about 300,000 of those currently unemployed are aged 16-24. It is well reported the biggest industries hit are hospitality, travel agencies and employment agencies. The number claiming work related benefits hit 2.7 million in September, an increase of 1.5 million since the beginning of the crisis in March.
After a record low of 343,000 vacancies in April to June 2020, there has been an estimated record quarterly increase of 144,000 to 488,000 vacancies in July to September 2020; vacancies remain below the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels and are 332,000 (40.5%) less than a year ago.
The Chancellors Plan for Jobs includes the Kickstart scheme. This gives employers an opportunity to engage an individual for six months. Officially launched on 2 September 2020, the scheme is aimed at helping unemployed young people aged 16-24 get a foothold on the career ladder by funding six-month job placements. Under the scheme, funding will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
One of the elements of this scheme is that applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. FIS recognise this is likely to be too many for the majority of our members and as such, we are delighted to advise we have been approved to act as an intermediary on behalf of you, our members and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
As an intermediary, we are able to amalgamate all requests and submit a consolidated bid on your behalf.
To make it as seamless as possible for you to engage with the scheme, FIS will be playing an active part in working with DWP to select the best and most suitable people available, FIS will be there to support you through the Kickstart process. We can also help you to access the £1,500 per job placement fund to cover the initial set up costs and the costs of training and support.
We urge you to support this initiative and give unemployed young people a chance. There is no obligation to employ individuals after the work placement has concluded. Even if you don’t think you’ll be in a position to employ anyone for the next six months, you can still give someone an opportunity to train and develop, at no cost to yourself or your organisation and perhaps help them secure a career in construction.
More information is available on the Kickstart Scheme Guidance but if you do have any further questions, please give our Skills and Training Coordinator Paul Glover a call on 07975 759378.