Youth Unemployment sand the Future Jobs Fund - Work and Pensions Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations


Outlined below is the role ACEVO played in the establishment of the Future Jobs Fund, followed by our and our members' serious concerns around ending the Fund a year early. There are a handful of short case studies at the end of the document to contextualise the issues raised.

1. ACEVO was a key player in the establishment of the Future Jobs Fund. It was launched as a result of a report that we presented to James Purnell when he was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. ACEVO also sat on the Government steering group which determined how the bidding process and administration of the first round of funding would work.

2. In a statement at the time of the Fund's launch Purnell said: "Without the work of ACEVO this announcement would not have been possible. In particular, the paper Stephen Bubb [ACEVO's Chief Executive] prepared demonstrated that the voluntary sector has the ideas to create employment for people out of work. This budget provides the funding that will enable the voluntary sector to develop local, useful jobs for the young unemployed."

3. Following the launch of the Future Jobs Fund, ACEVO commissioned the Work Foundation to produce a report on how this programme could deliver positive outcomes for communities by focusing on tackling youth unemployment, while also harnessing the unique value of the third sector. "Unemployment and the Role of the Third Sector" can be downloaded here For more information on ACEVO's work on the Future Jobs Fund please visit our website

4. ACEVO has real concerns about the Government's plans to scrap the £1.4 billion Fund which was designed to target unemployed young people, disadvantaged groups and others in deprived communities by creating 150,000 new "socially useful" jobs.

5. Below are a few of our early conclusions about the impact of cancelling this programme and some of the stories we have been hearing from our members about the impact the Fund has had on the young people involved.

  • a.  It is still too early to judge the effectiveness of the Future Jobs Fund as most placements have not yet ended. However, of the tiny percentage that have reached their conclusion, a significant proportion of those we are aware of have ended in offers of longer-term employment.
  • b.  As the Future Jobs Fund was geographically targeted at unemployment hotspots removing it will hit some parts of the country more than others. Some of these areas are the ones that Cameron has specifically identified as being disproportionately impacted by cuts in public spending, e.g. Yorkshire. We are aware of many third sector organisations in these regions that are ready to place people into jobs and were mid-way through bidding for funding from this programme. Amongst these was an application to fund a number of employment opportunities supporting women in the community through a Women's Refuge. The result of this move by the Government means there will be less support for these vulnerable women and local people will not benefit from the additional jobs. Unless new programmes are introduced in areas like this to mitigate against the impacts of cutting this programme, communities (and particularly third sector organisations) could be left supporting high levels of unemployment.
  • c.  Research has demonstrated that youth unemployment has a "scarring" effect - if someone is unemployed before the age of 24 then the risk of unemployment throughout the rest of their life is much higher. Furthermore, early experiences of worklessness can initiate a cycle of disadvantage that is transmitted across generations.[33] To add to this argument we are currently working with our members to produce a set of reliable stats on the link between mental health issues, criminality, alcohol abuse etc. If the Committee would be interested in receiving these, they can be sent through.

6. There has been some excellent coverage in the Guardian which highlighted the story of Nathan Mooney to show the big impact the Future Jobs Fund has had on the lives of many young people. Having been out of work for almost two years, he worked with the charity TAG to undertake training to become a Fitness Instructor. He came top of his class and was offered a full time job at CityPoint Club while on a four-month work placement. He is quoted as saying,

"I feel like my life is meaningful again, I can't wait to get to work. I'm happy to be getting out of bed and doing something. It's amazing and it's a ticket out of where I was. I could still be sitting around bumming, doing nothing."

More information on this story can be found here

7. Over the last few weeks we have been asking our members to send in similar stories. Below are some of the early responses we have received. We intend to build on these over the coming weeks and publish all the case studies on our recently launched support site, CutsWatch

BTCV is an international volunteering organisation supporting conservation projects in the UK and elsewhere. They took on two employees, Steve and John, through the Future Jobs Fund. Both young men had qualifications and experience in landscaping and the construction industry. In their time at BTCV they both received further training and on-the-job support for environmental/land management tasks. This built up their confidence, and gave them an insight into the kind of jobs available in the green economy. They have now started their own landscaping business together using recycled materials.

Lloyd Beattie, 22, was unemployed for over six months. He lost a lot of confidence during this time and started believing he would never find work again. Through the Future Jobs Fund he obtained a job working as an administration assistant for BTCV, while also working part-time at the organisation's partners Denbighshire Countryside Service. After six months Lloyd had gained the experience needed for working in the industry and was offered a permanent job working for Rhyl City Strategy as an administrator.

Haswell and District Mencap is a local charity working with people with learning disabilities. This small organisation has taken on five employees through the Future Jobs Fund, one of whom had been out of work for three years. When she started working as a catering assistant her confidence was so low that she needed a lot of support. However, through intensive mentoring and one to one training her self-esteem levels have started to rise. Her supervisors have noted how well she responds to their service users and are now trying to find the funding to keep her on permanently.

Washington Citizens Advice Bureau is an independent charity which offers free, confidential and impartial advice to everyone in the local community. Chris Fletcher had been unemployed for 8 months after graduating with a BA (Hons) in Law. He was offered a post as an Administrator at Washington CAB through the Future Jobs Fund. They were keen to utilise the skills he built up at university and worked with the Future Jobs Fund Adviser to create a trainee caseworker position for him. Chris has now been at the Bureau for a month and is enjoying his experience:

"After months of unsuccessful attempts to gain employment as a paralegal, I was left lost and dejected. Competition is fierce, places limited and law firms prefer candidates with experience. Just when I had lost all hope, I was offered this opportunity and I cannot thank Washington. I'm sitting in on interviews, researching and learning a lot. Hopefully this experience will prove to be the kickstart my legal career needs!"

15 September 2010

33   Unemployment and the Role of the Third Sector, Ian Brinkley, David Coats, Will Hutton, The Work Foundation, June 2009. Back

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