Rishi Sunak’s “Kickstart” job program: Back to the future?

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PA Media

When Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his £ 2bn Kickstart job program this week, some people seemed strangely familiar.

Those of a certain age may remember the Future Jobs Fund – the program set up by then Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alastair Darling in 2009 in response to the global financial crash. Like the Conservative Chancellor’s current program, it also strongly encouraged employers to hire young people. Companies were paid up to £ 6,500 for each job they created, for jobs that lasted at least six months.

So what was the success of the 2009 program? We spoke to two people who participated in the program and one person who helped implement it.

Lisa Connell, 29: “You Might Not Get a Full-Time Job”

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Lisa Connell

Lisa Connell is a nursing student at Uxbridge. She was part of the Future Jobs Fund program in 2010. She completed her college studies in 2009 and it took a while to participate.

“When I asked to participate in the program, I was unemployed,” she says. “The job I got through this program was working in administration for a local real estate tenant management service in Islington, London. They had to fill a vacant position. ”

Lisa had not passed all of her A / S levels and was living with her mother at the time, and had to go out to work.

“It was purely a six month opportunity,” she recalls. “But I was not hired in the end – it was a very small office and it was clear that government money was funding my position 25 hours a week. I will always be grateful for this as it was my first but when finished it returned to a long period of unemployment. ”

Lisa says it is important for those embarking on the new program to be aware that this does not necessarily mean a full-time job at the end of it. After the internship ended, she did not have a permanent job for four years, but she believes that the Future Jobs Fund was an important addition to her CV.

“I finally got an apprenticeship in 2014 and the program I took in 2010 certainly helped me drop out,” she says. “But that didn’t inform my career – I’m now a nursing student.”

She sees similarities between the 2009 and 2020 programs. “They offer 25 hours of training, the government will pay for it – why not just say they are bringing back the old system?” It will be interesting to see what will happen. It could get youth out of unemployment for six months – but then what? ”

Lewis English, 33: “It takes support and understanding from employers”

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Lewis English

In 2010 Lewis English worked for a company called Work Solutions, which set up the Future Jobs Fund for the Manchester City Council. He was responsible for the section dealing with people working in waste, cleaning, waste management and road works.

“The company dealt with around 1,000 FJF employees and I was responsible for around 70 of them,” he recalls. He interviewed candidates, supported them once there and checked their work.

“Many of them were on what was then long-time jobseeker’s allowance, and the purpose of accepting them was to give them work experience. Many people had problems with returning to work, especially since their hours were 7 a.m. But they did a good job. ”

However, he estimates that only 60% to 70% have completed their placement. Among those who have completed the six-month work experience, he says that many were very disappointed not to be selected for full-time employment.

Lewis, who now runs a marketing company called Underpin in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, says he intends to use the new government Kickstarter program to hire two people. Its objective is to provide full-time employment if the internships go well.

Regarding the new program, he says, “Employers need to support and understand that many program participants have been unemployed for a long time. It must also be recognized that skills in English and math are so important in the modern world. workplace.

“And you have to be aware that programs like this are potentially open to exploitation – some will see this program only as a source of cheap labor, so it needs to be watched very closely.” “

Ryan Chambers, 32: “It can help you in the long run”

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Ryan Chambers

Ryan Chambers was part of the Future Jobs Fund program in 2010.

“I dropped out of college and had a hard time going back to work,” he says. “When I was on the plan, I found myself in an office where I would be sitting with other people who had been out of work for 10 years. We were taught to open emails and the like.

“I would continue to apply for anything and everything just to get out of this situation. I finally found a job in a foreign sales call center – it lasted about six weeks. ”

He continued to look for other roles and eventually got one in a customer service center where he spent eight years.

“I haven’t had the best experience on the [FJF] program, but it helped me find a long-term job, “says Ryan, who is based in Leeds and now works for an ISP. He says about Rishi Sunak’s “Kickstart” program: “I went through his statement and it sounds extremely similar to the diagram I was on.

“I thought the program I was on was canceled by David Cameron because it was not economically viable – so how will it be economically viable?”

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