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Employment: Young People

Volume 695: debated on Monday 17 May 2021

The new enhanced DWP youth offer has provided wraparound support for young people since September 2020, delivering employment and skills support and training through our youth employment programme, new youth hubs and additional youth employability work coaches. We currently have more than 110 new youth hubs operating digitally or physically, with at least one in every JCP district. We will have more than 140 physical youth hubs delivering face-to-face support as the covid restrictions are lifted further.

How is the Department encouraging businesses and other employers to sign up to these schemes so that we can create those vital jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds who might otherwise be long-term unemployed?

We are doing it non-stop, as my hon. Friend will be pleased to know. The DWP Lords Minister —my noble Friend Baroness Stedman-Scott—and I regularly attend stakeholder and outreach events to promote kickstart to employers. Last week, I spoke to more than 90 employers at an event partnering with MyKindaFuture, a mentoring platform. The team in my hon. Friend’s local jobcentre are working with local employers to support those most at risk of long-term unemployment through the new opportunities they need. I am pleased to share with my hon. Friend that they recently helped a young man who was struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to find a new kickstart job as a green keeper.

I have recently received correspondence from the learning and skills lead for automotive engineering at Lincoln College in my constituency, which is shortly due to hold Autoinform 14-19, a practical taster event that aims to allow young people to spend time in workshops with local employers and industry specialists looking at electric cars, acoustic vehicle alerting systems, diagnostic methods and the MOT test. One difficulty is securing schools’ buy-in with the scheme. How does my hon. Friend believe the Government can support organisations such as Lincoln College to ensure that we help as many young people into employment as possible?

The DWP’s partnerships on the ground with local labour markets are key to these new employment opportunities. I am pleased that Lincoln JCP is working in partnership with the Network, a charity that aims to prevent young people from becoming NEET—not in education, employment or training—and engages with and connects to wider support. Customers will also benefit from a key partnership locally with the DWP, Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln College Group, which have created many new opportunities for our young people within the new kickstart scheme.

The Government have brought in some brilliant measures to get young people into employment and I witnessed that at first hand on a visit to NORI HR. We are also hosting an education summit locally, and I welcome the support from our local training providers such as North Lancs Training Group, but can the Minister set out what measures are in place to help jobcentres and training providers to work together so that people are fully aware of all the opportunities available to them?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that point, and I thank NORI HR for all its work. All MPs in this Chamber should take the opportunity to work with their local Jobcentre Plus team to support and promote kickstart. Locally, the DWP is working with employers such as NORI HR and also the Accrington Stanley community trust, which Members might have seen on “Football Focus” recently. The first cohort of employees started in March this year in a variety of kickstart roles including admin, sports coaching, youth work, site maintenance and leisure attendants. We are also working in partnership with the Hyndburn DWP youth hub to support our young people to be ready for these new kickstart roles.

Across Keighley and Ilkley, businesses care passionately about giving young people the skills they need for a successful career, and these include Byworth Boilers, an excellent business that offers apprenticeships to help local residents to take their first step on the career ladder. The desire from local businesses is there, but they often need Government help to turn this into a reality, so will my hon. Friend confirm how her Department is helping to give companies such as Byworth Boilers the chance to deliver for young people?

I am more than happy to support Byworth Boilers and all the local employers, and to extend my thanks to the businesses in my hon. Friend’s constituency and up and down the land that are putting forward opportunities to work with young people. I know that my hon. Friend works closely with the team at the Keighley jobcentre, who are in touch with many local employers including the Spoons Tearoom, Ideabean Software Technology and Superdrug, who are working together with the DWP to help to create new opportunities and progression for local jobseekers.

I thank my hon. Friend for her response. Young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, given the high rates of unemployment in hospitality. Today I visited one of our local hotels, the Hilton Cobham, which has now fully reopened and is looking forward to welcoming the guests who enjoy Runnymede and Weybridge’s local attractions such as Thorpe Park, the Brooklands Museum and, of course, the birthplace of Magna Carta. Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the next step in lifting the restrictions and invite people to visit and stay in Runnymede and Weybridge, to go to our fantastic pubs and restaurants to eat, drink and be merry and to support—[Inaudible.]— economy and jobs?

I think I got the point; we all love a bit of Thorpe Park. I join my hon. Friend in welcoming the wider return of hospitality in the travel and hotel sectors. This will be a vital boost to our economy and local jobs. In my hon. Friend’s jobcentre, we have new kickstart roles advertised in various hospitality areas including golf at Foxhills Country Club and Resort, sports and leisure through the RunThrough events team and social media opportunities with Little Olive Consulting, as well as vital local roles with Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council.

I appreciate all that my hon. Friend is doing to help young people, many of whom will bounce back into work quickly and easily, but what dedicated support is available to help those who face more complex barriers to employment?

My right hon. Friend is right. That is why we have our new youth hubs with work coaches dedicated to youth employability to support young people with complex needs. They are able to remove barriers and support young people into employment and, crucially, to continue that support for the next six weeks after they have moved into work. In my right hon. Friend’s area, the jobcentres are running crucial sector-based work academy programmes in social care, construction and security, as well as offering new kickstart roles to young people and working with the London Borough of Bexley, which is also a vital kickstart gateway.