What does the Spending Review mean to the Employability and Skills sector?

The Spending Review 2020 (SR20) placed the government’s response to coronavirus as its core priority.  The implications of the pandemic have been catastrophic to life and health – with the NHS, testing and PPE, unsurprisingly, heavily featured in the SR20.  Business, employment and skills were also key strands and with unemployment expected to peak at 2.6million next year measures have been put in place to support the employability and skills sector that should help mitigate some of this impact.

Headlines from the SR20 for the sector:

  • £2billion Kickstart Scheme: The scheme is set to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully subsided jobs for young people across the country. This is an existing programme, but this settlement confirms funding for over 250,000 Kickstart jobs.
  • There will be a three year long £2.9 billion Restart programme to provide intensive and tailored support to over 1 million unemployed people and help them find work.
  • £3.6billion of additional funding in 2021-22 for DWP to deliver labour market
  • £0.2 billion will be made available for job search support measures including the Job Entry: Targeted Support and Job Finding Support Schemes, the Youth Offer and Sector-based Work Academy Programme Placements.
  • The National Skills Fund will provide £138 to fund in-demand technical courses for adults, equivalent to A Level, and to expand the employer led boot camp training model, as well as £127 million to continue to support people to build the skills they need to get into work (including traineeships, sector based work academy placement and the national careers service).
  • There will be £2.5 billion of funding for apprenticeships and further improvement for employers.

A more detailed list of measures outlined in the SR20 for Employability and Skills can be found here. Spending Review 2020

There is a comprehensive package put in place to support businesses with the extension of existing support.  There are also additional one off funding for councils through the Additional Restrictions Grants and £750million to support for charities who support those directly by Covid-19.  More detail of the business support can be found here. Spending Review 2020

Amongst the measures the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) was agreed that the Government will at least match current EU receipts, on average £1.5 billion a year.  A portion of the UKSPF will target places in need.  The government will develop a UK wide framework for investment in places receiving funding and prioritising:

  • Investment in People and skills tailored to local needs, such as work based training supplementing and tailoring national programmes (i.e. AEB) and other local support (e.g. for early years).
  • Investment in communities and place including cultural and sporting facilities, civic, green, and rural infrastructure, community owned assets, neighbourhood and housing improvements, town centre and transport improvements and digital connectivity.
  • Investment for local business including support innovation, green and tech adoption, tailored to local needs.

A second proportion of the UKSPF will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes.  This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.  Details of the UKSPF in a UK-wide investment framework will be published in the spring.  There will be third element in 2021-22 which will allow for areas to pilot programmes and new approaches.  Further details of this will be published in the new year.