What is the next step for those furthest from the labor market? – FE News

Last month we wrote to Kit Malthouse, Secretary of State for Education, to express our real concern about the lack of support that will be available for people aged 15-24 who are not in education. , employment or training once the European Social Fund winds up in March.

These people are already among the furthest from the job market, the hardest to reach and hire, and will have virtually no other options to help them.

As the government faces its own tumultuous times and the economy not only looks gloomy, but heads into a recession, we know how important it is to speak out on behalf of this group.

By Alex Glasner, Managing Director of Workpays


Our letter to the secretary is below.

Dear Kit,

We are writing to express our real concern about support for young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). From March next year, there will be no substitute for aid funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). The end of this funding will create a gaping hole to support this incredibly vulnerable group. I write to you on behalf of them, the most disadvantaged and furthest from the labor market, to urge you to urgently address this issue and secure funding as a matter of urgency.

As the country continues to experience a crisis in the cost of living, with inflation and soaring fuel prices, the country is already beginning to feel the impact on the economy: vacancies are starting to drop, wages fall in real terms. At the same time, we know the UK needs to stay competitive and that virtually every worker in the country needs upskilling.[1]1 With the changing skills needed to succeed globally and an increasingly competitive market, it is important to ensure that the UK is at the forefront and that the whole country has the possibility of supporting our post-Brexit growth. We strongly believe that only by investing in skills can we weather the coming economic storm and emerge stronger than before. With an investment in training per person half as high as in Europe,[2] we call on the government to ensure that the funds currently in place do not expire and can continue to support those who need it most.

However, we also know how important this support is to ensure that we protect our young people against the headwinds of the economy. We know firsthand the importance of the government’s upgrading program – our area having some of the lowest GCSE grades in England[3] and poverty among the highest in the country.[4] As a training provider that focuses on providing NEETs in the Midlands, we know how unevenly these issues will impact our country. Without funds to support NEETs or those at risk of becoming NEETs (RONIs), more than a million people face the imminent threat of long-term unemployment that will severely affect their lives. We are now in real danger that funds will stop and there will be a long gap in support, condemning these people and the country to long-term economic hardship.

At Workpays, we work hard to support thousands of young people every year on their journey to employment. From helping people learn the skills they need to put their first foot on the ladder, to giving career advice and helping find an interview and a career, the work that we do is fundamental to ensuring not only that our communities can enter the labor market and be competitive, but that they can also thrive in sustainable employment. We could not do this without the funds currently provided by the ESF. When these funds end, we know the impact will be devastating, not just for those with less skills or job shortages, but for a whole group of young people who will not be able to find their bearings or a path to engage, impact on their whole life and their future employment.

We are writing to ask the government to take immediate action to ensure that these most vulnerable people can be supported with the appropriate funds, that funds continue to flow to organizations like ours to ensure that we can continue our work. We would be happy to work with the government to create long-term support programs for young people in our region and across the country. We ask that while this decision is being made, there is no shortfall in funds and that we allow the most vulnerable people to have the best possible chance in life.


We are still awaiting a response and will let the industry know when we have a response.

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Michael A. Bynum