New figures published on 13 October by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for more than three years.
Nationally, the unemployment rate was 4.5% for the three months ending August 2020, with 153,000 people aged between 16 and 24 in employment between June and August compared to the previous quarter, and 102,000 fewer than the same period in 2019.
Although the situation is looking disheartening, there is still reason for optimism.
The unemployment rate in the East Midlands rose by 0.3% to 4.4% however, it is still one-tenth of a percentage point below the national average.
Evidenced by East Midlands Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 2020, a net 6% of businesses expect to increase the size of their workforce in the three months following September.
Government schemes are also beginning to come into effect for 16 to 24-year-olds in the form of the Kickstart scheme. The Chamber, in its role as a gateway organisation, has now submitted applications on behalf of businesses for more than 500 roles.
The £2bn Kickstart scheme is a Government programme, which will cover the cost of a six-month placement for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment.
The scheme was put in place to help young people into work and spur Britain’s post-Covid economic revival, with quarter of a million people aged under 25 claiming unemployment benefits since March.
Acting on behalf of businesses wishing to offer fewer than 30 places, the Chamber applies to the Department for Work and Pensions for funding, which pays 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, national insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week.
East Midlands Chamber director of resources and Generation Next project lead Lucy Robinson said: “Kickstart will give opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds, allowing them to showcase their talent and gain skills.
“It will also help to support organisations during a time when they may need people to deliver key services, while also gaining a fresh perspective on ways to diversify. It really could be a win-win situation.”
To apply to the Kickstart scheme via East Midlands Chamber, please click here.