The spending review – how will it help jobs?
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has not only been the biggest health crisis in a century, but it has also created the largest economic shock in decades.
Many organisations have supported the lockdown as a necessary evil to save lives. But as we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel, with effective vaccines being rolled out, there is still a danger that the pandemic will give way to an unemployment crisis.
Many workers have already had to deal with the loss of their jobs and many more face huge uncertainty and anxiety over what will happen next. The estimate is that ¾ million jobs were lost between January and July with more losses to come.
In response, the government has recently set out spending plans for a post-pandemic world. We look at how these will affect the recruitment sector, an area that has suffered badly in the last few months.
The Chancellor has pledged to make jobs the number one priority
The recent review includes the sum of £2.9bn for a new Restart jobs scheme and £1.4bn to expand the Jobcentre Plus agency.
The Restart scheme is targeted at people who have been out of work for more than 12 months. This three-year scheme will provide regular intensive support to help people, particularly older workers, find work.
The money ring-fenced to increase the capacity of Jobcentre Plus will be partly spent on recruiting 13,500 work coaches, bringing the total to 27,000 by March of next year. These coaches will be trained to support the unemployed in finding jobs through delivered targeted programmes.
One such programme is the Kickstart scheme, which puts young people who receive unemployment benefits into six-month work placements. Employers taking part receive £2000 for every new worker they take on. Another is the Department of Work and Pensions sector-based work academy placements, which help people to learn new skills through a mixture of work experience and training.
Work coaches will also be responsible for helping job seekers with basic skills such as CV writing and interview preparation.
The beginning of the end
As the year comes to an end, most of us will be happy to see the back of 2020 and welcome in 2021 with renewed hope. With a viable vaccine being rolled out, now employers can start to plan. Granted, we don’t have a watertight timescale, but companies can start to forecast and plan with the knowledge that at some point next year, we should be able to work in a more normal way. Coupled with the financial support recently announced, perhaps it’s true to say that although we are not yet at the end of the crisis, we are at the beginning of the end.