Archive for October 13th, 2011

DWP announced strategy to target youth unemployment

The Department for Work and Pensions is to launch sector-based work academies across England to tackle youth unemployment. Over the next two years, the new academies will offer a combination of training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview to up to 50,000 people.

Alongside the Work Programme and the Government’s Work Experience scheme this will mean support for up to 150,000 young people over the next few months and 250,000 people over the next two years.

Sector-based work academies will operate in industries based on local labour market demand, including construction, contact centres, hospitality, logistics, and retail. In the wider economy there are currently over 90,000 vacancies in retail, over 44,000 in hospitality and 11,000 vacancies in construction.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:

“Sector-based work academies are the next key part of our strategy to tackle youth unemployment. With training, work experience and a guaranteed interview, they will put people at the front of the queue for vacancies that employers are looking to fill.”

Judith Nelson, UK Personnel Director for Tesco, said:

“We are always on the lookout for new talented individuals to join our teams across the UK. Sector-based work academies are a great way to find these new people from within the communities we serve and provide them with the skills and experience needed to succeed.”

Angela Williams, British Gas HR Director, said:

“The Sector-based work academy scheme is a great initiative. It’s helped us find good people we can take on and train, giving them the skills to insulate our customers’ homes and reduce their energy bills.”

Website: DWP


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support


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Work Programme providers will be crucial in stemming the rising tide of youth unemployment, says ERSA

As youth unemployment today hits a record high of 991,000, the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body for the welfare to work industry, has announced its partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop solutions to tackle youth unemployment.


At a conference on ‘The Challenge of Youth Unemployment’ held on Monday 3 October, over 100 Work Programme providers met to examine the barriers faced by young people getting work and discussed the most effective strategies to supporting young people into employment. Speaking at the event, Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, called for:


  • Stronger transitional arrangements for young people moving between employment support provision designed for 16-17 year olds and the Work Programme;
  • Good quality nationally available careers guidance.  Providers can play an important role in providing effective advice and guidance to young people.  However, this cannot take the place of a national careers guidance service available to young people both before and after they reach school-leaving age;
  • Work Programme providers to support apprenticeships as part of welfare to work provision.  At preset only 12% of apprentices are former benefit claimants. Providers have the potential to play a far greater role in facilitating Information and careers guidance services to children before they reach school-leaving age.


Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA commented:

 “Employment services providers recognise the urgent scale of the challenge of youth unemployment. Too many young people from workless backgrounds struggle to find work and have low expectations for the future.  However most young people want to work rather than live on benefits. The welfare to work industry can deliver the tailored services that young people need to give them the confidence and skills to get into employment. We therefore welcome the opportunity to work with government to help rise to this challenge.’


Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers who also spoke at the event said:

 “Make no mistake, people like me are in desperate need of solid reliable employees, and contrary to popular belief we are not averse to putting our hands in our pockets to give people the necessary training. However what we do demand is that candidates understand that not only do they need to bring with them the basics like a good education, but also they need to understand that to be successful they need to be prepared to adopt the culture of an organisation.


For press enquiries please contact Philip Curry: Philip.curry@ersa.org.uk / 020 7960 6317.



Notes to editors

  • ERSA is the authoritative voice of the welfare to work sector. It represents 90% of the prime contractors that have been awarded contracts under the Work Programme and many of the subcontractors. It also represents 100% of providers of Work Choice, the specialist disability programme.
  • ERSA’s membership is comprised of small specialist charities through to large organisations. 50% of our members are from the not-for-profit sector.

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Report highlights how Scottish tenants would struggle under welfare reforms

A briefing paper prepared by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)  and sent to the Scottish Lords, explains that the welfare reform bill would lead to tenants falling into arrears as a result of the housing benefit changes which would make tenants pay for under occupancy.

The SFHA have reported that more than 42,000 tenants could be affected with a potential net loss of up to £24.5m in benefits. However, due to the lack of available smaller properties in Scotland, tenants have no alternative. The figures show that 62% of all housing association or co-operative tenants need only one bedroom, yet only 34% of residences have just one bedroom.

There are also concerns about other potential reforms such as paying housing benefit directly to the tenants rather than the landlords, and the plan for the universal credit system to cap benefits to working-age households. The SFHA say that the latter would affect 1,700 housing association and cooperative tenants in Scotland.

Maureen Watson, policy and strategy director at the SFHA  says “although the numbers affected are low, the losses are significant at an average of £66-£93 a week,”

The research by the federation has also noted the financial difficulties of tenants at present before any cuts and found that 40% of working-age tenants on housing benefit say they are in financial difficulties. With this being the case, the impact after the reforms could be “significant” warns Watson.

For a full Guardian article on the topic click here

Website: The Guardian

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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Jobs growth weakest in two years

A new report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG has been published, which draws on survey data from recruitment agencies, to provide a comprehensive guide to the UK labour market. This report has found that the appointment of staff to both permanent and temporary positions has slowed at its weakest rate in more than two years.

The key points of the report are:

  •  Slowest increases in permanent placements and temporary billings since August 2009
  •  Weakest rise in job vacancies for almost two years
  •  Pay pressures remain muted
  •  Stronger improvement in candidate availability

Bernard Brown, partner at KPMG has warned that these findings suggest the jobs market could end up “contracting” as a result of such slow growth.

In assessing the reasons for this, Mr Brown said: “The employment agencies surveyed reported that the slower expansion of placements was linked to a lack of confidence among clients over the economic outlook”.

Commenting on the latest data, Kevin Green, REC’s Chief Executive, said:

“Employers are being very cautious about hiring at the moment. This has been exacerbated by weak consumer confidence which leads to people staying in their current role rather than changing jobs. The private sector is still producing new jobs but not in the quantity needed to offset the job losses in the public sector.

In response to these findings Mr Green said, “It’s vital that we look at ways to boost these numbers, particularly for young people who continue to be disproportionately affected by unemployment.”

Website: Telegraph


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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