Today sees the official launch of the Government’s Kick Start programme aimed at unemployed 18-24 year olds. The idea, as reported in the press this morning, is Government will pay employers £1,500 per head towards a 25 per week, six month work experience placement. The Government’s idea is many will be kept on or step into permanent jobs elsewhere. Referrals will be made by JobCentre Plus staff. One of the first employers to sign-up is Tesco who want 1,000 people.
Alarm bells are ringing for me. I wonder if this has been thought through properly. We have evidence from various previous work programmes including the recent Future Jobs Fund which doesn’t seem to have been learned from going by the press reports today.
My concerns are:
- Will there be vetting of employers to ensure integrity that these unemployed young people won’t be scarred further by being used for six months in basic roles with nothing at the end?
- Is a robust audit trail in place so all parties are accountable and progress/gaps in training are addressable?
- What ‘work experience’ elements will be focussed on to ensure attractiveness to employers who do have jobs but don’t want to have to ‘re-train’ bad habits?
- How can employers in good consciousness take part if they have furloughed/made their own staff redundant?
- JobCentre Plus staff are on a huge recruitment drive themselves with thousands being recruited into Work Coach positions. How will KickStart be managed to ensure any concerns raised are investigated quickly?
At Growing Talent, we know it’s successful even where there are multiple barriers to employment in place for unemployed individuals because:
- There is a dedicated mentor for individuals, employers and sole contact with JobCentre Plus leads to monitor progress and address issues immediately
- There is a robust audit trail to highlight progress/training gaps
- It’s five weeks long including a week orientation and holistic whole person skills
- There are robust employer and participant agreements in place
- There is a permanent job ring-fenced for the individual at the start of the journey which is theirs on completion
I would personally be more reassured if this KickStart programme was targeting future industries – Artificial Intelligence, Coding, green energies or industries that usually look at degree education/experience such as financial services. To ask someone to work for six months with no guaranteed job on completion with employers like Tesco fills me with concern. What about you?