Is your company making the most of the Government’s new job seekers initiative?
The Youth Contract Scheme was formally launched in April of this year. It estimates that up to half a million young people will be able to benefit from the £1 billion funding which is available through the scheme to get them hired by the wider business community. So, is your company ready to take part?
It’s almost inevitable that as many companies keep their noses to the grindstone to get through this unparalleled recession, they can sometimes miss the very government schemes designed to help them.
One such initiative is the Youth Contract Scheme, a recently launched and well funded programme designed exclusively to get graduates and young job seekers working – or gaining work experience – but also greatly benefitting the employer.
One set-back to take-up is a sort of initiative-fatigue. This is where companies are half aware of help, but are too busy to investigate further – or worse – view such schemes as too complicated and not worth the trouble.
To overcome this challenge the resulting Youth Contract is a model of simplicity. Yes, it’s created to get people working, but it’s also designed to give a valid reason for taking someone on – not just for the sake of feeling good.
As such the scheme is targeted towards job seekers aged 16-24 years old, one of the groups which show worrying rising unemployment levels. These job seekers can apply through their local Job Centres to take part in the initiative, thus creating demand, but it is up to businesses such as yours to take up the challenge on the supply side.
The scheme works by encouraging suitable companies to take on job seekers under 25 years old, and provides salary incentives worth up to £2,275. The process has been made as simple as possible, and this amount is more than enough to cover an employer’s National Insurance contributions relating to employing an entry level candidate for a year.
Whilst there are large companies getting involved, the scheme is also firmly aimed at smaller to medium sized businesses.
Indeed, it has been recognised in the past that smaller firms, especially, have been deterred from hiring an apprentice due to perceived logistical, training and administrative costs. The Youth Contract offers incentives which are actively designed to make it financially viable for your company to participate, thus gaining the advantage of a trainable new member of staff which your business may not have taken under present conditions.
Economic uncertainty has meant many businesses view hiring young people as a risk due to the belief of a lack of work experience and skills, thus meaning higher training costs. The Youth Contract will significantly reduce this perceived risk, giving employers the confidence to invest in young people.
The Youth Contract is a wide ranging set of initiatives and there will also be extra funding for apprenticeships, as well as a £50 million programme to help persistently unemployed 16 – 17 year olds too. Most importantly, however is that The Youth Contract is open to all businesses, including those that already employ large numbers of young people (like retail and construction) and emerging sectors (like the green economy, creative industries and ICT).