Vital extension of support for young people
Today’s announcement that the Young Person’s Guarantee will be extended to 2012, providing all young people unemployed and claiming benefits with access to a Future Jobs Fund job, training or work experience is fantastic news.
The Future Jobs Fund is the most progressive labour market programme for a generation. It has been a key recession response, addressing the economy’s current demand-side weaknesses in a way that training and other employability programmes cannot: making unemployed people more job-ready has little effect when there are insufficient jobs for them to move into. By guaranteeing real jobs, paid at least the minimum wage (which gives the experience credibility with employers, as well as reducing the risk that the most disadvantaged will simply drop out), the programme gives young people the best possible chance of moving into work as the recovery takes hold.
Evidence also shows us that job guarantee programmes like the Future Jobs Fund are the most effective means to reduce young people’s risks of long-term unemployment, providing real work experience, an employer reference and time to search for jobs on the open labour market.
The Government should be commended for introducing and retaining such a vital programme – that is already key to an early fall in youth unemployment, and to far lower numbers of young people being out of work and education than in previous recessions. It remains to be seen whether other parties will promise to match this key commitment.