Getting Young People into work
Eileen reports... At our Zoom meeting on December 4th we heard from Wendy Mangan. Wendy is the School & Employer Adviser and Retail, Construction & Lead Apprenticeship Leader in the Work and Health Directorate of the Department for Work and Pensions in York (whew!) In summary, she is a School and Employer Adviser covering the York and Ryedale areas.
Wendy's role has a focus on 16-24 year olds who are beginning their work life at a very difficult time; virtual sessions have replaced visiting the Job Centre Plus in Monkgate and she is in regular touch with employers. A “new normal” will emerge from the changing situation.
Wendy spoke about several recent developments which have been put in place by the Government to help young people in these difficult times.
The biggest scheme, KICKSTART, sees an investment of £26m to enable high quality, paid 6-month
work experience placements for 16-24 year olds. The employer is paid £1,500 for start-up costs and then the relevant National Minimum Wage and any National Insurance or Pension contributions for 25 hours per week of work; the only cost incurred by the employers is if they choose to increase the wage or hours beyond these amounts. Large employers bid to take on 30 young people - LNER has created 19 Kickstart roles. Kickstart will end in December 2021 and the last placement will be in Summer 2022.
TRAINEESHIPS, including work experience placements are arranged for periods from 6 weeks to 12 months. Much liaison is carried out between DWP staff and employers / providers so that the experience is tailored to the needs of the job-seeker and employer. Placements often lead to job offers as there is, in effect, “try before you buy”.
MENTORING CIRCLES. These are employer-led sessions designed to build confidence and self-help strategies for job-seekers. Job-seekers are taken through 3 sessions which cover all aspects of applications. Sheila Weatherburn and Eileen Davis have learned about Mentoring Circles and attended several online sessions with big employers, with a view to running one for DWP.
TRAINING PROGRAMMES. The DWP provides help and support for all ages and all sectors. Training programmes are accredited by matching courses to job-seekers and respecting what employers want; certification is provided on completion.
YOUTH HUB. Those who have been unemployed for 13 weeks or more can use the Hub which is set up away from the Job Centre. They drop in for IT access, expert help and support in a more informal setting.
At the conclusion of her talk, Wendy took a large number of questions, which demonstrated just how interesting and informative her talk had been. Virtual interviews have become the norm but DWP staff are finding that they have to remind a few jobseekers of the appropriate situation and outfits - the case of the young man being interviewed in his car whilst he awaited and then took an Amazon delivery was apocryphal.