To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase the number of employment and training opportunities available to (a) young people and (b) disabled people.
Through Jobcentre Plus, DWP is helping young people to find the right support, education or training that will ultimately lead to sustained employment opportunities and career progression. The Plan for Jobs provides a comprehensive package of support for young people, including the Youth Offer and Kickstart.
The Kickstart scheme is dedicated to helping 16 to 24-year olds at risk of long-term unemployment develop their skills and experience through fully funded six-month jobs.
We are extending the DWP Youth Offer to 2025 and have expanded eligibility to include 16 and 17-year olds, in addition to 18 to 24-year olds, who are claiming Universal Credit and in the Intensive Work Search group. As part of this, Youth Hubs offer a range of dedicated local services, including mental health support, alongside skills, training, and employment provision. Youth Employability Coaches work closely alongside Disability Employment Advisors who specialise in helping claimants who have a disability or health condition to move into the labour market.
We have increased the number of work coaches providing individually tailored support which will help the newly unemployed, enable us to continue supporting those with complex needs, and to work with partners to ensure they get the help they need.
A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives and start, stay and succeed in employment.
The UK Government will provide £1.3bn over the Spending Review 2021 period to provide support for disabled people and people with health conditions. We will extend the Work and Health Programme, expand the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, and expand employment support in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services across England.
Through the Disability Confident scheme, DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of people with disabilities and health conditions. Through the scheme, DWP is providing advice and support to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people, by signposting them to appropriate advice guidance and support.
Core skills are fundamental in securing, retaining and progressing in work. This Government has invested in apprenticeships, traineeships, vocational and basic skills training, alongside careers advice and Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs). This all forms part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. DWP actively seeks to provide claimants with upskilling opportunities, and our delivery approach is aligned to wider Government support for priority areas as part of the economic recovery – ensuring those looking for work, including young people and disabled people, are well positioned to gain employment in these sectors.