Westminster Employment Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Priorities for reducing youth unemployment in the wake of COVID-19

Morning, Monday, 22nd February 2021


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference examines the way forward for, reducing youth unemployment, improving the employability of young people, and supporting them as they enter the job market.


The discussion takes place against the backdrop of the economic impact of COVID-19 and with concerns about the prospect of widespread unemployment affecting young people.


The discussion at a glance:

  • careers advice and services - developing Careers Hubs, improving careers advice in schools, the role of the National Careers Service, and work search support
  • work placements - creating high quality experience of the workplace and other training opportunities for young people
    • the Kickstart Scheme  - implementation and impact so far
    • increasing participation and quality in traineeships
    • engagement with business - encouraging employers to take on apprentices, including incentives
  • progression into work - preparing young people for the labour market, and the role of business in developing employment opportunities
  • skills gaps and regional employment imbalances - the role of LEPs, providing opportunities to upskill, and the impact of the sector-based work academy programme (SWAP)
  • the Work and Health Programme - its impact so far, next steps, and its future role in tackling long term unemployment in the wake of COVID-19

The policy and funding context:

  • the Kickstart Scheme - introduced as part of the Plan for Jobs, which will provide funding to employers to create six month job placements of at least 25 hours per week for 16-24 year olds on universal credit and at risk of long term unemployment
  • the National Careers Service - with £32m in extra funding over the next two years to increase the provision of personalised advice on training and work options to 270,000 young people
  • £111m to triple the scale of traineeships - announced by HM Treasury with the aim of tripling participation, alongside payments for employers who hire new apprentices
  • Careers Hub scale-up to support skills for COVID recovery ­- bringing local secondary schools and colleges together with employers, universities and career guidance professionals, with an additional 882 schools and colleges joining the scheme
  • the Work and Health Programme - £95m being made available to expand the scope of the programme to those on benefits that have been unemployed for more than three months
  • the sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) - Government providing an additional £17m this year to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in England

The discussion in more detail:

Careers advice and guidance

  • COVID-19 - the impact on careers advice and guidance, and how the benefit of additional funding can be maximised
  • Careers Hubs:
    • progress - assessing their role so far in improving the careers offering across England
    • expansion - the practical steps which need to be taken in the roll out of the new Hubs
    • co-ordination - how to ensure the development of productive relationships between partners
  • service quality - the challenges faced by schools and colleges as they look to improve in line with the eight Gatsby benchmarks for careers advice and guidance
  • adapting work experience - how the pandemic will change the way in which careers education is presented and delivered:
    • options and practicalities for effective provision remotely
    • ways in which schools and colleges can work with employers for their provision

Work placements and training

  • the Kickstart Scheme
    • implementation - early experience and emerging issues
    • sustainable opportunities - prospects for the scheme to create long term jobs following the initial placements
    • the fit for participants - assessing whether young people being offered the optimal level of training and experience
    • SMEs - whether the scheme is designed effectively for small businesses
  • participation - how traineeships can be increased at level 2 and 3 in line with government’s ambition for it to treble, and the impact of new incentives for employers taking on trainees and apprentices

Skills gaps and regional imbalances

  • regional youth unemployment:
    • the future role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in addressing local skills gaps in the context
    • the government aims to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in England with more vocational training and guaranteed interviews
    • the likely impact of expansion of SWAP on youth employment
  • longer term unemployment - expansion of the Work and Health Programme to those who have been unemployed for more than three months, and the programme’s impact and future role in tackling unemployment in the wake of the pandemic

The agenda:

  • The careers strategy for young people in England
  • Careers advice and services - developing Careers Hubs, advice in schools, the role of the National Careers Service and work search support
  • Work placements and other training opportunities - the Kickstart Scheme, participation, quality of provision, and engaging employers
  • Preparing young people for the labour market and the role of business in developing employment opportunities
  • Skills gaps and regional employment imbalances - the role of LEPs, providing upskilling opportunities, and the sector-based work academy programme (SWAP)
  • The next steps for the Work and Health Programme - its impact so far and its future role in tackling long term unemployment in the wake of COVID-19

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speakers

John Yarham

Interim Chief Executive Officer, The Careers and Enterprise Company

Lord Bilimoria

President, CBI; Chancellor, University of Birmingham; and President, UK Council for International Student Affairs

Chairs

Nigel Mills MP

Member, Work and Pensions Committee

Debbie Abrahams MP

Member, Work and Pensions Committee

Speakers

Councillor Sean Fielding

Leader, Oldham Council

Mark Smith

Chief Executive Office, Ada. The National College for Digital Skills, London

Jude Robinson

Head of Strategy, Skills & Participation, Hampshire County Council

Ruth South

Head of Graduate and Apprentice Programmes, Capgemini UK

Chris Russell

Policy Lead for Talent and Skills, The National Centre for Universities and Business

Joe Fitzsimons

Head of Education and Skills Policy, Institute of Directors

Mike Cherry

National Chair, Federation of Small Businesses

Dr Jamie Mackay

Skills Strategy Manager, Enterprise M3