The Labour Government’s Future Jobs Funding (FJF) was announced in the 2009 Budget and was targeted at 18-24 year olds in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance for over 26 weeks. The Future Jobs Fund, guaranteed work or training to every 18 to 24 year old who was in danger of becoming long term unemployed.
In October 2009, Westminster Council was awarded £617,500 in grant from the DWP to deliver the first round of 95 jobs by 31 March 2010 in collaboration with the Council’s delivery partners, Westminster Kingsway College and Groundwork.
Westminster Council was successful in securing £253,500 in grant from the DWP for the second round of the FJF programme. The funding was for 39 jobs for young people by 31 March 2011. As with the first FJF round, there was a strong emphasis on jobs that provide sustainable employment for young people beyond the 26 weeks of FJF support.
The 6-month employment opportunities were offered in a range of sectors which include green jobs (linked to estate based green projects), teaching, hospitality, cultural organisations and social enterprises. A condition of the funding was that all jobs must demonstrate a clear ‘social benefit’.
“In 2010 Westminster City Council commissioned EDS to manage the delivery of the second phase of the DWP funded Future Jobs Fund programme within Westminster.
From the onset it was agreed that there should be a strong emphasis upon linking FJF posts to predicted private sector vacancies in an attempt to increase the likelihood that the six month placements would lead ultimately to permanent employment. As a consequence, 30 of the 39 posts funded under the programme were developed in partnership with private sectors employers.
Due largely to the close link between the posts created and the real employment demands of the private sector, the programme has proved to be very successful at helping local long-term unemployed residents to secure sustainable employment.
Eleven posts were created through collaboration with the Grounds Maintenance Service in the Royal Parks and Islington, with employees providing additional mulching and winter maintenance services between October 2010 and April 2011. As part of the placement the FJF staff were provided with on-the-job horticultural training and obtained valuable practical experience of cyclical grounds maintenance. On completion of their six month placements, all 11 were offered seasonal contracts by Enterprise, the Grounds Maintenance Contractor.
A further 11 posts were created with Westminster’s provider of the School Escort Service which provides supervision and support to special needs children on their journey to and from school. Over a six month period the School Escorts were provided with an opportunity to develop their interpersonal skills and to develop a relationship with the children, whilst being sensitive to their special needs. The 9 School Escorts who completed the placement were offered permanent employment with the service provider.
Through this contract EDS recruited and employed 39 long term unemployed Westminster residents on employment contracts linked to private sector and voluntary sector employers across Central London. A wide variety of posts have been created including: Grounds Maintenance Operatives in the Royal Parks and Islington; School Escorts in Westminster; an Economic Development Assistant with Westminster City Council; an HR Assistant with Eaves Housing for Women; a Community Worker linked to the Kings Cross regeneration programme; a London Transport Museum Assistant; an English National Opera Assistant; and Retail Assistants for Circle Sports – a fledgling social enterprise business.
To date, 24 of the 39 individuals who participated in the programme have gone on to secure permanent employment.”