Seven areas across Great Britain (Tyne and Wear, Durham and Northumberland; Liverpool City Region; Greater Manchester City Region; Glasgow; Barnsley; Suffolk and Merthyr Tydfil) commissioned Inclusion to produce a national and independent record of the Future Jobs Fund (FJF) based on their experiences.
The evaluation uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to summarise the Future Jobs Fund’s benefits, its areas for improvement, its impact and its value for money.
The benefits of the FJF include the fact that it engaged employers more than previous welfare to work programmes, raised people’s career aspirations and qualifications, moved people with multiple barriers off long-term benefits, transferred benefit to communities and the voluntary sector, and brought together effective sub-regional partnerships.
However it suffered from slow and changeable guidance, received poor applications from Jobcentre Plus, had limited ability to engage private sector employers, and did not place enough emphasis on progression into sustained work.
43 per cent of participants obtained a job outcome after FJF and these people are experiencing impressive levels of job sustainment, with over half predicted to be in that same job one year after starting.
In low vacancy areas and in the programme’s busiest months FJF represented up to 60 per cent of young Jobseeker’s Allowance benefit leavers who had been claiming for six months or more.
FJF had a net cost to government of £3,946 per participant, or just over £9,000 per job outcome. Participants spend 70 days fewer on benefits than they would have if the programme hadn’t existed, above and beyond time spent in FJF jobs.
The advantages of temporary waged job initiatives demonstrated by FJF make them an attractive option for a number of stakeholders in today’s welfare to work environment.
To national government: emphasise the temporary job experience, a ‘real’ job with a ‘real’ wage, in the design and marketing of other initiatives aimed at young people; and allow out-of-work benefits to be used as a wage subsidy in low-vacancy areas, target sectors, and for the hardest to support.
To local government and the public sector: introduce temporary waged job initiatives to stimulate depressed labour markets and create growth; and work with local employers to build upon the substantial employer commitment to helping unemployed and young people.
To Work Programme prime contractors: work with local partners and employers to fund temporary jobs in order to achieve sustained employment outcomes for customers.