A new government employment programme will see thousands of work coaches hired to guide those who have found themselves out of work due to the pandemic.
The announcement comes amid new warnings that the ending of the furlough scheme will bring an unemployment crisis.
Those jobseekers who have been out of work for three months or longer will now be helped by the £238m job entry targeted support (Jets) scheme.
Those receiving the new style jobseeker’s allowance, and those receiving the ‘all work related requirements’ universal credit payment, will be eligible for the new programme.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says that the scheme will give people expert advice on interviews and CV writing, as well as how to transition into growing sectors. The DWP says it will be hiring 13,500 new coaches to help fulfil the scheme.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our unprecedented support has protected millions of livelihoods and businesses since the start of the pandemic, but I’ve always been clear that we can’t save every job.
“I’ve spoken about the damaging effects of being out of work, but through Jets we will provide fresh opportunities to those that have sadly lost their jobs, to ensure that nobody is left without hope."
Jets went live this week in Wales and selected counties in England. It will be extended across the rest of England later in the month, and will start in Scotland early next year.
Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, said the Jets programme could help over a quarter of a million people who have recently become unemployed.
The end of October will see the government’s furlough scheme come to a close. The scheme will be replaced by a wage subsidy programme that will offer limited support to workers on reduced hours.
Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, said that a ‘jobs cliff edge’ will be created by ending the furlough scheme.
“The government’s failure to get a functioning track, trace and isolate system working means large swathes of the country, including in the north and the Midlands, are now under additional restrictions and face a jobs cliff edge,” said Dodds.
“Labour urged the chancellor to introduce a wage support scheme that incentivised employers to keep more staff on. However, he ignored these calls and now nearly 1m jobs are at risk when the furlough scheme ends in a few weeks’ time."
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