With unemployment set to soar, there is help at hand for the community

4th December 2020

Last week’s statement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak contained some startling figures.

Unemployment is expected to reach 7.5% next spring, with 2.6 million people out of work – which will include many members of our Jewish community.

If you’re one of those currently unemployed – a number that currently stands at 1.62 million – or are fearing job loss/redundancy in the coming months, there was also some brighter news in the Chancellor’s speech.

There are a range of funds available to help, while in our own community there also places people can turn to get funding to get back into the workplace.

Looking at the national picture first, the Government has promised will have spent a total of £280 billion “to get our country through coronavirus”.

Part of that will be £4.3 billion package to help hundreds of thousands of people get back to work – including £2.9 billion for a new Restart jobs scheme.

If you’ve been out of work for more than 12 months, then the Restart scheme will be a good place to turn and promises regular intensive support tailored to your circumstances.

It is particularly aimed at older workers. We have encountered many in our community who have seen decades-long careers affected by the coronavirus. This fund will certainly help them and others facing what the Chancellor describes as “the scarring effects” of long-term unemployment.

Further details are set to be announced soon, but it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

At the other end of the age spectrum, is the £1.6bn for the Kickstart work placement programme, which the Treasury says will create up to 250,000 state-subsidised jobs for young people.

The scheme, first launched in August, offering employers £2,000 for every new worker they take on, is to be extended to the end of March. And if you’re an employer that can help by taking someone on, you’ll find all the information and application forms, here.

Elsewhere there is money to meet the Government’s commitment to provide Lifetime Skills Guarantee, a £4bn “levelling up” fund to finance local infrastructure improvement projects and a rise in the national living wage.

Then there is the help you can receive within our Jewish community.

For example, the newly launched Richard Mintz Bursary Fund will provide bursaries to those in the community wishing to train for a new career.

It has been designed to help those wishing to improve their earning potential but who are prevented from doing so due to the expense of training courses which often range from £500 – £5,000.

The fund is open to anyone in the Jewish community of any age and background and will cover both short-term courses leading to work opportunities and fully accredited programmes leading to professional qualifications.

These are just some of the funds and schemes that can help. There are many others including industry specific ones.