Let Them Learn: FE support for the unemployed
The opportunity for change to support unemployed people to train at college
Further education colleges are well placed to support people into good jobs, no matter their starting point. In our new report we are calling on the government to scrap unhelpful universal credit claimant rules that have created an ‘education vs. work’ divide. Current rules prevent people from participating in many learning or training courses if they receive unemployment benefits. This hampers progress on the government's Plan for Jobs recovery strategy, putting investment in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee out of reach to too many people. More joining up of skills and employment programmes are vital to deliver plans to ‘build back better’.
‘Let Them Learn: Further education colleges’ support for the unemployed’ argues that further education colleges are “supporting unemployed people in partnerships with their local Jobcentre Plus (JCP), despite the education and welfare system, not because of it.” It highlights how disconnected the education and welfare systems are. Currently, they actively discourage people from getting the skills they need to move on to meaningful employment, risking creating bigger tax burdens and slower economic growth.
Many excellent college-led initiatives across the country are supporting local unemployed people through work with job centres and skills initiatives, but these are not as widespread as they need to be. To make it work for employers, people at risk of becoming long-term unemployed and colleges, we are calling for a system that embeds, incentivises, and invests in the role of colleges in supporting unemployed people on a national scale, arguing that the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill provides the chance for the government to make this commitment.
Read the full report where we offer our recommendations to support unemployed people into entering education. You can find additional resources, and marketing assets, below.
“The very people that should be accessing the learning and preparation for work training are the ones currently being excluded from it. Those most likely to benefit would have to give up financial support to train and learn, and with no access to other maintenance support, would likely have to forgo any chances of reskilling in order to live, eat and pay bills. Today’s report shares clear evidence that training of this kind prepares people for getting into secure, fulfilling jobs. It is entirely counterproductive to pursue a hard-line policy of restricted training while job hunting, pitting the two against each other when one is in fact the best route to the other for many. We need a coherent system that spans education and welfare and works for those at risk of long-term unemployment. If we don’t we risk leaving people behind in efforts to boost sought after skills for employers and help combat the impact of the pandemic on jobs and the economy.”
How you can get involved
To find out how you and your college can help support the campaign you can access a range of social media graphics here which can be used alongside the template tweets copied in below. It would be great if you could tag us in your posts so that we can retweet them - our Twitter handle is @AoC_Info or @AssocOfColleges on Facebook.
- Too many unemployed people are not directed to advice and training that could get them into good jobs due to a disconnected skills and welfare system. @AoC_info is calling for government to support unemployed people to train at college.
- We are calling on the government to scrap unhelpful universal credit claimant rules that have created an ‘education vs. work’ divide. Read @AoC_info’s latest report calling for government to support unemployed people to enrol on a college course if they need it.
- Colleges are well placed to support people into good jobs, no matter their starting point. In ‘Let Them Learn: FE support for the unemployed’, @AoC_info offers its recommendations to help unemployed people re-enter education: #SkillsLedRecovery
For more information, or to share your thoughts or feedback, contact Association of Colleges' public affairs team, firstname.lastname@example.org.