A watchdog claims that it is not clear whether Kickstart’s government scheme creates quality placements for 16-24-year-olds.
The National Audit Office (NAO), stated that it is not clear if the scheme created jobs.
Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee said that “the jury is out” about whether Kickstart will benefit people.
According to the government, more than 100,000 jobs have been created by this scheme.
The Kickstart program was launched in September 2020 to assist thousands of youth facing unemployment for long periods.
Companies apply to the Department for Work and Pensions to establish Kickstart areas, and these are then vetted for suitability.
Universal Credit young adults aged 16-24 are placed in roles by job center work coaches.
The government pays the minimum wage in the country for each placement that is successful, up to 25 hours per week, and covers any six-month duration.
The £2bn scheme, was launched to try to counteract an expected surge in youth unemployment due to the Covid pandemic.
However, even though the government moved quickly to establish the program, Gareth Davies from NAO said that there is no guarantee that Kickstart will have the desired positive effect.
It doesn’t know if the job created is of high-quality or if they wouldn’t have been possible without the scheme. “It could also do more for the benefit of those most in need,” he stated.
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- Launch: There are concerns about delays in young people obtaining jobs
It is not clear what skills and training are provided by employers. The Department for Work and Pensions, (DWP), “doesn’t gather data to determine who supports them.” [employers]The NAO stated that “actually provide”.
The report also stated that the risk of some funds being diverted to companies that would have been able to create jobs anyway, as the economy grew.
Meg Hillier explained that “The jury’s out” on the value of Kickstart and whether it will really help the young people most in need.
Weighing the huge amount of government cash invested into this scheme, DWP took a “concerningly light-touch approach” to setting and tracking targets.
The DWP stated that the 16-24 year-old scheme has been extended up to March 2022. “It already provides more than 100,000 jobs which can change lives for those who are at highest risk for unemployment, as well as opportunities for youth.”
The government spokesperson stated that Kickstart was created quickly after the pandemic began. At the time, it was expected that the unemployment rate would increase by more than twofold.
According to the spokesperson, the government has established a network to ensure that the scheme is relevant to local labor needs. He also stated that youth unemployment was at its lowest point since the pandemic.
Many young people, who had started to claim Universal Credit in the midst of the pandemic, were locked down multiple times. They were on the benefit for over a year after the Kickstart scheme began at large.
The scheme had less than 2000 young people who were able to start new jobs in January.
Initially, 250,000 Kickstart applicants were expected to start by 2021. But the DWP changed their mind and said that it was impossible.
The company now believes that there could be 168,000 launches by March 2022.
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