Supporting Young People into Employment
As I sit down to write this blog, the latest unemployment figures have just been released. The N. Ireland unemployment rate of (3.8%) is now at the lowest rate in the last 10 years and below the UK average of 4.3%. Additionally, it is below the European Union (7.4%) rate and Republic of Ireland (6.0%) rate based on figures from October 2017.
However, this apparent positive news is tempered with the statistic that 28.2% of people aged between 16 and 64 are considered to be economically inactive. This is the highest rate in the UK and the highest rate recorded since 2010.The economic inactivity rate in Northern Ireland is persistently above the UK average which now stands at 21.2%.
Current policies are failing those living in long-term unemployment. Into employment programme participants experience a sense of 'schemeitis' being created, as they seem to move from one scheme to another with the effect of massaging the statistics rather than a fundamental improvement.
In Bryson FutureSkills, we have developed innovative partnership programmes with large employers including housing associations, local businesses, councils and Health and Social Care Trusts who provide on the job training.
One example of a great success story is Perry McClenaghan who enrolled with us at Bryson FutureSkills, where he achieved a range of qualifications. He then was matched up with a local employer “Environmental Street Furniture Ltd”, which provided him with valuable work experience and on the job training. During this time he also had one to one support and job search facilities through Bryson. Perry got the opportunity to apply for a job with the company and was successful He is really enjoying his job and is continuing his training and education with us working towards completing his Level 3 Business Administration Framework. Perry is just one example of the young people we are working with each day. To date 48% of the young people we have supported have moved into sustainable jobs.
It is our understanding that other Government programmes, such as Steps to Work achieved around 25% employment outcomes. The difference in approach is that our model of intervention is based on preparatory training for work including ‘wrap-around’ supported paid work experience and ongoing job search support. It is Bryson’s view that ‘netting off’ the benefit savings from work-based employment programmes and the greater use of social value requirements in government’s £3bn annual procurement spend makes these programmes a more practical option with better employment outcomes.
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Blog written by Liam McNeill, Director of Bryson FutureSkills