The UK government has introduced an array of initiatives around employability and skills. Over the past year, and as a result of the pandemic, it produced its Plan for Jobs, followed swiftly by the Skills for Jobs white paper, which brings together long-term policy objectives with more localised and targeted support to manage the current crisis.
The speed of policy change can be hard to navigate, so we have put together an ‘at a glance’ guide to the keynote policies.
Plan for Jobs
Launched in October 2020, JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support) is aimed at helping individuals who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Key features are:
• Provides light employability support that includes things like transferable skills analysis, CV writing, job search, interview skills, self-efficacy and confidence-building in the post-pandemic environment. Participants will receive 182 days of continuous support.
• For participants of working age who are receiving benefits and motivated to find work.
• Participants must be of working age, in receipt of universal credit or new style JSA, have been unemployed for 13 weeks or more, have been receiving benefits for 13 weeks or more and are not on any other DWP scheme.
• Participants will have travel costs covered to any WHP JETS related appointments and childcare costs if it poses as a barrier to the participant entering employment within the first month of attendance.
• Backed by £238 million investment from the government and delivered in partnership with the Shaw Trust.
Officially opened to applications in September 2020, Kickstart is an employability scheme that provides 6-month placements of 25 hours per week for 16-24-year-olds in receipt of Universal Credit.
Key details are:
•It provides funding for employers to offer work placements, and it covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage for the period of the placement, associated employer National Insurance and pension contributions, and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. Employers can top up this wage.
• Employers will also receive £1500 to help pay for training, uniforms and other set up costs.
• Backed by £2 billion of public funding.
• Employers can either apply directly or through a Kickstart Gateway (a group of employers) already working with the Kickstart Scheme.
•Young people will be recruited through Jobcentre Plus.
• Participants will be paid the national minimum wage or the national living wage depending on their age.
• Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.
• Initially open until December 2021.
Launched in November 2020, Restart is a £2.9 billion scheme managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that provides up to 12 months of tailored support for people who have been out of work for at least 12 months and may need additional support.
Key features are:
•The scheme will last for three years and will be delivered by providers (initially Tier 1 providers) through the Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services framework (CAEHRS).
• For participants in receipt of Universal Credit and have been out of work for 12 months
• Referrals will be made through work coaches.
• The scheme is expected to benefit around one million individuals, who will get personalised support depending on identified need.
• It will be delivered on a payment by results basis, incentivising providers to prioritise outcomes.
• The DWP has awarded contracts and the scheme will go live in Summer 2021.
Apprenticeship upgrade – The Plan for Jobs announced new support for apprenticeships.
• £3000 employer payment for each new apprentice they take on between 1st April and 30th September 2021.
• This funding is in addition to existing payments for 16-18-year-olds, people with disabilities or young people leaving care.
• It is possible to progress from Kickstart to an apprenticeship.
• The employer needs to pay the National Minimum Wage (or more) and possible 5% of training and assessment costs depending on the size of the business.
T Levels are the skills equivalent of three A Levels, and they offer a mix of classroom learning and an industry placement of around 45 days. Three T Levels are currently available at selected schools, colleges and other providers in England. A further seven will be available in 2022-3.
Learners can progress from T Levels to employment, an apprenticeship or higher education.
In the Plan for Jobs, financial incentives of up to £750 are available for providers in selected regions for the 2020 to 2021 academic year