Several months ago we published a report about a new initiative from the Welsh Government called ‘Jobs Growth Wales’ (you can read it here). It’s a scheme designed to get more young people into meaningful employment (albeit only 12,000 youngsters over 3 years) and hopefully prove their value to their employer so they are kept on longer than the guaranteed 6 months of the scheme.
Now April is here the scheme is underway so what can employers, employees and most importantly, the economy, expect to gain?
The first thing employers should be aware of is the young person must be an addition to the existing workforce. They cannot be used to fill an already existing role, seasonal workers for example. Remuneration is the responsibility of the employer too, though this is largely due to the expectation of the employee signing up to employer terms and conditions. Employers will then have to arrange to be paid back by their scheme provider. Some may see this as a slight obstacle, though surely it is no deterrent in gaining a ‘free’ employee.
For youngsters out of work, many will be appreciative of the opportunity this scheme will afford. A chance to enter the workplace, build a network, and embark on a career. Likewise, not only a job full of monotonous tasks but what the Welsh Government term a ‘quality’ opportunity. What their definition of ‘quality’ is no one can be quite sure, and this may only become clear once they walk through the door.
So is this scheme capable of kickstarting the economy? Things always become intricate when Governments step in to manipulate the jobs market. But lets face it, there are so many youngsters out of work the Government need to be seen to be putting proactive measures in place. In amongst the politics and economics we need to remember the young people involved. Both the Government and the employers have a duty not to exploit, but to ensure there is mutual benefit between employer and employee. There is also an issue of sustainability – ensuring employers are incentivized to keep their employee on for longer than the 6 months.
In all likelihood it won’t become clear in 6 months or even 3 years whether the scheme has been a success. The key will be talking to the young people taking part, ensuring they get the ‘quality’ role they deserve, knowing that they are doing their bit to help stimulate a stagnating economy.