HELPING EVERYONE FIND A JOB BY IMPROVING THEIR SKILLS AND EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS
Jobs, and the skills needed to get them, can help people develop the independence they need to flourish. Whilst it is good news that growth is emerging and creating new jobs, we have to make sure all communities are able to prosper and everyone has the skills to get good quality jobs – currently 60 per cent of those who have no qualifications are unemployed.
This makes it all the more important to start early, making sure that every child gets a good education at a local school. As schools are given more freedom, it becomes more critical that they are effectively held to account and swift action is taken when standards slip. The current two-tier system of school accountability, with councils responsible for the majority of schools, but more than 3,500 academies and free schools accountable to Whitehall, is not working.
OUR PLANS WOULD ENSURE EVERY CHILD HAS A PLACE AT A GOOD LOCAL SCHOOL, REDUCE LONG -TERM UNEMPLOYMENT BY A THIRD AND HALVE THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED YOUNG PEOPLE.
To be able to do this, the new government must:
In the first Queen’s Speech
Announce a Public Services Bill that will:
• Deliver a joined up employment and skills service which focuses on individuals by merging statutory responsibilities of the Department for Work and Pensions, the Skills Funding Agency, the Education Funding Agency and councils, stopping people falling through the cracks between current fragmented programmes and reducing long-term unemployment by a third.
• Extend councils’ powers to challenge underperforming academies and free schools so that they can act as the champions for parents and children to drive up standards and ensure all local schools are rated ‘good’ or better by Ofsted.
• Improve school performance by setting up local ‘Education Trusts’ for all schools, including academies and free schools, which bring together head teachers and governors, supported and held to account by councils, to share expertise and support selfimprovement.
In the first Budget
The Chancellor will:
• Give every 16 to 24-year-old the advice, skills and experience to contribute to the local economy and halve youth unemployment by consolidating and devolving the range of funding to councils through a locally led youth transition service.
• Support councils to build new schools by allocating indicative five-year capital budgets to councils, across the lifetime of the Parliament paid into a single, local pot. This will help councils to meet the sharply increasing demand for school places and ensure every child gets a place at a good local school.
In the first 100 days
The new government will:
• Refocus employment skills and back to work support by strengthening the central role of councils and bringing together key provisions including back to work support, Universal Credit and Troubled Families.
– Revitalising employment help through a new locally-led Youth Jobcentre, to bring together services around the needs of individuals.
– Match training with local jobs by completing the transfer of further education funding to councils and local partners and investing in independent locally commissioned careers advice.
– Boost teenage participation in education and training to an all-time high by devolving under-performing national youth engagement schemes to councils.
SKILLS FOR THE NATION
Councils have already developed pioneering programmes to help get more people in to work:
• Greater Manchester Combined Authority negotiated a three year, place-based programme to work with 5,000 Employment and Support Allowance claimants leaving the Work Programme, aiming to support 15 per cent into sustained work. Based on the local Troubled Families case worker approach, it provides bespoke packages of integrated services from all other public services including job search, skills, housing, health and childcare and social care support, recognising people need a range of support rather than employment alone.
• Cornwall Council and Jobcentre Plus jointly lead ‘Cornwall Works’ bringing together a plethora of services into a single offer built around the needs of local people. It is able to develop a single conversation with health, police and housing services to help organisations support their clients more effectively. This has helped deliver better partnership working which in turn has ensured increased positive impacts, particularly in areas with high long-term worklessness. The programme has been a key factor helping young people return to work at a higher rate than the national average.
Surrey County Council
• Surrey County Council created Skills Centres after identifying a gap in provision for 20 per cent of its disengaged young people, which was not flexible enough to meet their needs. It funded Skills Centres to offer tailored support in familiar settings such as youth centres, supported by individual case-workers. Two hundred new learner places were created in the first phase, and 38 per cent of learners participating in Skills Centres moved into apprenticeships, employment and further education for at least three months.