Labour’s proposed job scheme could open door to social enterprises tackling chronic unemployment


Social Enterprise UK's Chief Executive Peter Holbrook comments on Labour’s proposed job guarantee scheme announced today.

Responding to Labour’s proposed job guarantee scheme announced today, Social Enterprise UK’s chief executive Peter Holbrook, said:

“The job guarantee scheme, like its predecessor – the future jobs fund - offers a real opportunity to get the unemployed back into long-term work. While the jury’s still out on the Government’s work programme, early signs have not been promising. Contracts for services to find people work are becoming so large that only one type of provider is able to bid, shutting out smaller to medium sized charities and social enterprises. Large private firms are dominating the welfare-to-work market, and through the programme are sucking money out of the public purse, even though they lack the experience required to address the root causes of chronic unemployment.

“Labour’s new scheme offers a robust alternative and would open the door to local organisations like social enterprises, which have a strong track record of helping people gain the skills they need to find a steady job. Like the future jobs fund, it could open up the back-to-work market to these smaller but highly effective providers.

“The downward spiral of long-term employment can often make re-entering the labour market seem impossible. Social enterprises and community groups - that often have a core mission to tackle unemployment and sell their products and services to achieve it - are frequently best adept at understanding the complex needs of people struggling to find work. The future jobs fund bolstered their work, and helped social enterprises transform the way jobseekers were reintegrated into the workforce.”

Examples of social enterprises that successfully used the future jobs fund to find the long-term unemployed work:

Hill Holt Wood

Hill Holt Wood worked in partnership with West Lindsey District Council on the Future Jobs Fund (FJF) initiative. The FJF launched in 2010 to provide six month work placements to the long term unemployed, supporting them back into employment.  Hill Holt Wood favours a whole person approach, tailoring its work to suit the needs and abilities of each individual. It has a strong track record delivering successful outcomes and through the FJF partnership, 45% of those involved went on to secure permanent employment. Impressed by the results, the Council now seeks support programmes for the unemployed that use a whole person approach.