Back to work? Not here, according to EEF

Posted on 19 Sep 2012

In a survey of 200 manufacturing companies, EEF found only one company that was both aware of the Government's Work Programme, and actively involved in it.

Steve Radley, Director of Policy, EEF

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation for UK manufacturing companies said that almost half indicated they were aware but not involved or considering the programme, while 11% said they were not aware and had no plans to get involved.

Besides being hugely under-subscribed, the Government’s programme to help get the long term unemployed back to work isn’t yet recognised as a viable method to increase youth employment by the vast majority of the 200 companies surveyed.

EEF said in a statement that there is a “fear that the absence of basic skills is dissuading companies from taking advantage of the incentive on offer” among the surveyed companies.

Steve Radley, director of policy at EEF said: “Taking on someone from the Work Programme is seen as a significant risk for manufacturers at a time of huge economic uncertainty.”

He went on to say: “Job Centre Plus must therefore play a key role in preparing young people for placements in the Youth Contract by ensuring that they the basic employability. skills. The Government also needs to do more to raise awareness of the programme and the incentives on offer.”

He also called on the Government to put more effort into highlighting the Apprenticeship Grant and routes into structured training offered by Job Centre Plus’s shorter-term work placements.

EEF’s findings show that employers are nervous about taking on young people who have been out of work for a long period, and are concerned that they lack the basic employability skills.

The organisation believes that Job Centre plus should be effectively resourced to provide young people with pre-employment training in basic skills which would then make them more attractive to employers.

It is also calling for more of the Youth Contract resource, worth £1bn, to be targeted at schemes around apprenticeships and the shorter-term work experience provided by Job Centre Plus.

EEF is also recommending the placement period should be extended to 12 weeks so that employers can use this time to train up a young person and use it as ‘probation period’. Senior figures at EEF believe is it likely that employers would subsequently offer young people a job if the above was implemented.