Commons Knowledge with Dr Andrew Murrison MP - New scheme is good for jobs in Trowbridge

  Posted: 20.11.20 at 06:30 by Dr Andrew Murrison MP

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IN July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a range of policies under the government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ agenda. 

According to the most recent data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Trowbridge has 1,444 people claiming unemployment related benefits. This makes up half of South West Wiltshire’s 2,948. Wiltshire’s total is 12,902. 

Only ten per cent of adults hold a Higher Technical Qualification as their highest qualification, compared to twenty per cent in Germany. 

People often think a university degree is the ticket to a good job but, five years after they get their qualification ,the average Higher Technical Apprentice earns more than the average graduate. So, it seems skills are at least as financially rewarding as scholarship. 

The Plan for Jobs is a three-pronged approach to tackling youth unemployment.  The Kickstart scheme focuses on jobs, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee majors on skills and qualifications and Universal Credit helps people entering employment at lower pay. 

Some have compared Kickstart with previous Conservative schemes such as the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) introduced in 1983. 

YTS was successful in getting young and unskilled people into employment, but there was also the risk that participants could be taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers after cheap labour. 

We don’t want to repeat that. Kickstart should be seen within the context of a package of measures - one of several tools accessible to the young for gaining employment and improving employability.  

The Prime Minister says, ‘this Government will help you get the skills you need’. Therefore, for each job placement, the host company ‘must help the young person become more employable.’ 

In other words, we’re seeking to close that skills gap with countries like Germany. 

It’s a great scheme showing real promise but there have been some issues with the Kickstart process.

I have written to DWP Secretary Therese Coffey to ask why local firms that have not yet been successful in their bid to take part in Kickstart, haven’t been told why or given feedback on how to improve their application. 

A GOVERNMENT funding bid to regenerate Trowbridge town centre with £23 million-worth of cash has been made by Wiltshire Council this year but, despit...