A new ‘Work & Skills’ initiative is needed for people who are long-term unemployed. Next year there could be between 1 to 1.6 million people who have been out of work for 12 months or more. This could be the highest since the 1980s and will have drastic implications for families and whole communities across the UK.
There needs to be a universal offer for all long-term unemployed people introduced in 2021. Our proposed universal offer is:
- Personal advice and guidance on jobs, careers and skills
- Intensive job search support from a personal advisor
- Up to 12 months in activities that will build your employability as part of a clear plan to find a job
- A subsidy to employers that may recruit you
- A bonus payment for you if you get a job and stay in employment.
Our three-stage plan to implement ‘Work & Skills’ is based on Prevention, Provision and Perseverance. We need to do as much as we can to prevent longterm unemployment (especially for young people), we need high quality and personalised provision as soon as someone has been unemployed for 12 months, and for all those that are still unemployed for two years we need a new approach.
‘Work & Skills’ will need to:
- Help individuals be agile in the labour market by an investment in hard and soft skills, alongside ‘work first’ jobsearch
- Employment and skills services (both public sector and providers) will need to be adaptable and responsive in what they deliver and how they deliver
- Recognise there is no single silver bullet or ‘programme’, instead we need a joint effort on several fronts to cope with potentially the highest level of long-term unemployment in decades
- Partnership and collaboration between national and local government, and other local partners, will be critical to the effectiveness of services.
- Deliver opportunities and resources to individuals, families and communities that have been hit the hardest by the crisis – a poverty of ambition at this point will have consequences for any years to come.