The ‘furlough’ scheme came to an end on September 30th, 2021, with an estimated 1 million workers still furloughed. As such, the Government has turned to the next stage of its ‘Plan for Jobs’ scheme, which recently announced an extra £500 million in funding.
One of the numerous initiatives is the Kickstart Scheme, recently extended to March 2022, which sees 100% of wages subsidised for young workers on Universal Credit. With the aim of supporting young people at the risk of long-term unemployment, this scheme is helping workers gain confidence and experience. As of November 2021, there were 100,000 workers employed through this scheme, with this number increasing by approximately 2,500 each week.
Similarly, the £2.9 billion Restart Scheme aims to provide personalised support to those who have spent over 12 months on Universal Credit. Despite being available to all, it focuses on those over the age of 50 who are at greater risk of long-term unemployment. Other initiatives include improved hiring incentives for apprenticeships, tripling the number of traineeships and ‘Job Finding Support’ for those recently unemployed.
Look To The Future
The £68.5 billion spent on the furlough scheme helped to plug the gap for workers and struggling businesses, but now the focus must shift to the future. Amidst the backdrop of record job vacancies and the attempted return to ‘normality’ from the pandemic, the impact of these various schemes on unemployment figures and the recruitment industry remains to be seen.
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