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Graduates: Employment Schemes

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL15264, tabled on 26 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce an employment support scheme for recent university graduates.

Answered on

29 April 2021

The government recognises that a number of graduates will face particular challenges gaining employment due to the ongoing, adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK labour market and economy.

Our economic priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods, which is why the government has put unprecedented measures in place to protect businesses and jobs. Our extensive support through the furlough scheme, which has been extended to September 2021, the Jobs Support Scheme, grants, loans, and tax cuts has protected thousands of businesses and millions of people.

The government is doing all it can to help people who are at the start of their career journey. As part of the government’s skills recovery package ‘Plan for Jobs’, we are investing an additional £32 million in the National Careers Service up to March 2022. By the end of financial year 2021-22, this investment will support delivery of individual careers advice for over 500,000 people whose jobs or education have been affected by the pandemic. This represents an increase of 22%. The Service has introduced a range of new initiatives to continue to support all customers, working with a wide range of partners to offer careers guidance activities designed to support employers, furloughed workers, graduates, students, those who have recently lost their jobs, and anyone whose career path has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Content on the National Careers Service website to support graduates includes information on graduate schemes and internships, sector-specific work experience, virtual work experience, virtual recruitment fairs, volunteering, developing soft skills, finding job vacancies, writing a CV and application form, telephone and video interviews, psychometric testing, using LinkedIn, gap years, and considering further study. On 29 September 2020, we added additional courses to the Skills Toolkit, covering digital, numeracy, and employability skills. The new content includes a range of courses to develop ‘work readiness’ skills that employers value in their new recruits.

The Department for Work and Pensions is aiming to have a nationwide network of 27,000 Work Coaches in place by the end of March 2021 to support jobseekers and match them with employers who are recruiting.

Many higher education providers have developed new and innovative ways to support students and graduates who are looking to continue their studies or to prepare for employment. The Department for Education is working with Universities UK, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, the Institute of Student Employers, the Office for Students, and the sector to understand what more we can do to support graduates who are looking to enter the labour market or continue their studies at this challenging time.