The coronavirus is causing UK Unemployment to rise. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 800,000 employees left the payroll in the last twelve months, with a record number of redundancies and reduced vacancies. With the national lockdown continuing the picture is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Even before the pandemic, the Department of Education has increased its focus on the 50% of people that did not go to university. In September 2020, the Prime Minister announced a significant expansion of education and training for workers to boost productivity, narrow the skills gap, and deliver some details on the promised support for ‘the other 50%. The Prime Minister’s announcement included a Lifetime Skills Guarantee and entitlement to flexible loans for micro-credentials style study.
Degree Apprenticeships have been the flagship scheme to ‘unleash talent’ for those who do not have high qualifications, but many additional services are available as part of the Governments approach. I have listed some of the currently available services to those who need a job or improve job security by upskilling.
For people looking for work, the UK Government provides:
- An Official Job vacancy service to search for opportunities
- A Job help website for tips on writing applications and CVs
- The National Career Service for free information, advice, and guidance about careers, learning, and wor
- The Apprenticeships website to search for practical training in a job with study.
- The Kickstarter scheme that creates 6-month work placements for unemployed young people
For people wanting to learn, the UK Government provides:
- The Traineeship website to get help and at least 70 hours of work experience to prepare for an apprenticeship or job
- The Skills Toolkit with access to 70+ online short courses in digital, numeracy, and employability skills provided by educational experts and employers including Microsoft
- The National Skills Fund is the first part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and is focused on adult level three qualifications
- Skills Bootcamps lasting 12-16 weeks that build sector-specific skills to get people to interview ready
- The local Jobcentre Plus pre-employment training, work experience placements, and guaranteed job interview.
For people that have lost their job:
- The Job Entry Targeted support scheme provides six months of personalised support after the first three months of searching for a job
- Work coaches match peoples skills to available jobs to help get them back into work
- The Restart scheme from Summer 2021 to provide 12 months of personalised support for those out of work for over 12 months
For people needing financial help due to coronavirus:
- The Employment and benefits support site lists all available government benefits in place to support those that have been affected financially by the coronavirus
There is much more to be done, but there is now a direction of travel. The Apprenticeship levy and growth in work learning has been positive, but details of the future schemes are not yet clear. However, there is help for people who need it, and there are great jobs for people with the right skills and opportunities to develop these skills for those who want them.
If you are interested in working in Learning Design or Educational Technology and want to talk to someone for advice, please contact me on Twitter. There is a massive need for people to support the design and development of high-quality online courses, and I would love to give you an hour of my time on a call and help you on the journey from whatever starting point.