This letter was originally published in The Sunday Times on Sunday 14th June 2020.
The unemployment figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday will reveal the biggest rise in unemployment in the UK in over a century. We are experiencing a jobs crisis greater than any that we have faced as a nation, with unemployment levels higher than the Great Depression.
We now call on the Government to publicly commit to an Opportunity Guarantee - that everyone who is unemployed will have the help that they need to get into work, with investment in the employment support, education, training and jobs to make this happen. As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme winds down, we need to create opportunities for people to skill up, get a job and have a guaranteed role in our economic recovery.
The recovery must build the foundations for a new world of work. Through a focus on digital services, investment in green infrastructure and new technology, we will see new jobs, skills, careers & enterprise in a renewed labour market. But we will only get there by investing in the right support for people today.
The Opportunity Guarantee will:
1. Promote job creation by reducing the costs and barriers to employer hiring, and investing in the jobs that we need for the future.
2. Support people into work by doubling the capacity in services that help people access the jobs market, with greatest support for those facing disadvantage.
3. Secure opportunities for young people by ensuring that all have the choice of an education place, apprenticeship, or job.
A bold vision for the future of work coupled with these clear actions will enable regions, businesses, and households to plan their own contribution to the country’s success.
An Opportunity Guarantee must be at the heart of the Government’s solution to kickstarting economic growth for all, across our communities.
Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director, Communities that Work;
Andy Ratcliffe, CEO, Impetus;
Stephen Evans, CEO, Learning and Work;
Lord Robert Kerslake, House of Lords;
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive Officer, Heathrow Airport;
Hayley Tatum, Senior Vice President – Chief People Officer, Asda Stores Ltd;
Catherine Schlieben, HR Director- Talent, Leadership, Inclusion and Diversity, National Grid;
Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust;
Scott Parkin, Chief Executive, Institute of Employability Professionals;
Tony Wilson, Director, Institute for Employment Studies;
Elizabeth Taylor, CEO, ERSA
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Sheffield City Region;
Mayor Jamie Driscoll, Mayor (North of Tyne), North of Tyne Combined Authority;
Helen Barnard, Acting Director Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation;
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor, Liverpool City Region, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority;
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation;
Sarita-Marie Rehman-Wall, Chair, National Federation of ALMOs;
Andrew van Doorn, Chief Executive, Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT);
Anna Smee, CEO, Youth Futures Foundation;
Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO, Youth Employment UK;
Steve Stewart OBE, Executive Director, Careers England Ltd
Maryanne Matthews, CEO, EY Foundation;
A full list of signatories can be found here: https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/opportunity-guarantee-a-call-to-the-prime-minister/