Coronavirus support: Advice and guidance for businesses COVID-19 Support

Employment Support

Check out the range of resources and support to help you through redundancy and business owners to support employees.

Regrettably, we are seeing the current situation with coronavirus affect employment in this region. To help people facing this situation, we’ve collated national, local and regional employment resources to help.

Job Help - https://jobhelp.dwp.gov.uk/

Information on what types of roles are good to apply for right now, also hints and tips on applying for jobs.

Find a Job - https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/

For people seeking a full or part-time job or even some temporary work during the coronavirus emergency.

National Careers Service - https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/

For those who have lost a job, been made redundant or are concerned about reduced hours, to help those to get back into work and training.

Independent, impartial and professional advice on careers, skills, and the labour market from careers coaches to support application for jobs.

In Milton Keynes, Adviza also offer a Regional Redeployment Service for individuals who have lost their jobs or whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19 at https://www.adviza.org.uk/services/national-careers-service/regional-redeployment-service/

Promoting local vacancies and to support people to get back into work. Employers the chance to post current opportunities on their social media which the National Careers Service will promote on their channels during #JobsHour.

  • Northamptonshire - Follow on Twitter @CareersEMids
  • Bedfordshire & Luton - Follow on Twitter @CareersEEBucks
  • Milton Keynes - Follow on Twitter @CareersSE

Serco - www.serco-ssw.com

Skills Support for Redundancy offers funded training to support individuals who are facing redundancy in small and medium sized businesses.

This can include vocational or career progression training such as gaining a relevant accreditation, as well as providing employability skills training such as interview techniques and functional skills qualifications.

Skills Support for Redundancy is delivered by Serco and co-financed by the Education & Skills Funding Agency and European Social Fund. Contact at [email protected]

TCHC - https://www.tchc.net/individual/get-into-work/skills-support-for-the-unemployed

Skills Support for the Unemployed offers a flexible programme of employability and skills training, tailored to a person’s needs. It is for people who are out of work and helps overcome the challenges faced when looking for employment or an Apprenticeship.

There are a variety of programmes to help specific groups including, long-term, over 50s, lone parents, ex-offenders and those with wellbeing issues.

The Skills Toolkit

The online platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects. Since the launch a month ago tens of thousands have started its digital and numeracy courses.

Local Further Education Colleges

Broad variety of qualifications, including vocational courses, apprenticeships, higher education, professional certificates as well as employability skills and community training.

Barnfield College
Bedford College
Central Bedfordshire College
Milton Keynes College
Moulton College
Northampton College
Tresham College

Local Universities

A diverse range of courses and qualifications at higher levels including degrees, Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), foundation degrees and masters.

University of Bedfordshire
Cranfield University
University of Northampton

The Open University

A huge variety of distance learning and online courses available on the Open University website.
OpenLearn – over 100 free courses and videos.

Online Training Resources

The SEMLEP Growth Hub has compiled a list of online training and development resources available on the Training at Work Online Courses page. 

Local Authorities 

Luton Borough Council: Skills and qualifications that can help develop your career.

Luton Adult Learning

Passport to Employment

The Passport to Employment Team is delivering a series of workshops to assist you on your journey back into employment. Their series of employability workshops will help you design an outstanding CV, prepare for interviews and help you improve your confidence. Their classes are delivered by our highly skilled tutors who will support and guide you throughout these workshops.

Volunteering

Luton Adult Learning has strong links with Luton Council's Volunteering Team and many who have completed Passport to Employment have gone on to volunteer, where they are able to gain a wealth of work-based experience and make useful contacts.

SEMLEP Growth Hub - https://www.semlepgrowthhub.com/coronavirus/

Information and links to the latest developments on business support from the UK Government.

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub Business Support team is ready to help and can be contacted directly offering a free service.

Phone: 0300 01234 35
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.semlepgrowthhub.com/contact-us/

Sector-Based Work Academy Programme

The sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) can support you to create a skilled workforce for your business.

These provide a short period of pre-employment training, work experience and in some instances guaranteed job interview to support people into work via a specific job role or job sector opportunity. These are delivered regularly across a range of job sectors, such as Hospitality, Security, Construction, Business Administration, Social & Adult Care etc. DWP can even provide reasonable travel costs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sector-based-work-academies-employer-guide/sector-based-work-academies-employer-guide

Employer Help - https://employerhelp.dwp.gov.uk/

This site offers a range of advice to help businesses overcome challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether needing to expand rapidly, or making redundancies, advice is provided on the next steps and the best ways to support staff.

Virtual Jobs Fairs

Promoting local vacancies, employers the chance to post current opportunities on their social media which the National Careers Service will promote on their channels during #JobsHour

  • Northamptonshire          Follow on Twitter @CareersEMids
  • Bedfordshire & Luton Follow on Twitter @CareersEEBucks
  • Milton Keynes             Follow on Twitter @CareersSE

Serco - www.serco-ssw.com

Skills Support for Redundancy offers funded training to support businesses who are facing making redundancies.

Now available through distance learning, this can include vocational or career progression training such as gaining a relevant NVQ or accredited Leadership and Management qualification, as well as to provide employability skills training such as interview techniques and functional skills qualifications if needed.

Funded training, qualifications and networking is available to any small to medium sized business in the area facing difficult decisions.

Skills Support for Redundancy is delivered by Serco and co-financed by the Education & Skills Funding Agency and European Social Fund. Contact at [email protected]

The new Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

The scheme is being administered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and all the information you need to apply is available at gov.uk/kickstart.

How the scheme works

  • 6 month job placements for young people 16-24.
  • Placement should support the participant develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.
  • Employers can apply directly for placements if they have a minimum of 30 job placements on offer.
  • Employers with smaller numbers of placements can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number of 30 job placements.

Who is eligible?

  • Employers from all industries and across private, public and voluntary sectors can get involved, regardless of size, can apply for funding.
  • The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not: replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment
  • The roles must be: a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months and paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group
  • They should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement
  • Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience
  • Guidance is at eligible for the Kickstart Scheme

How to get involved?

Bids must be for a maximum of 30 job placements.

If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the Kickstart Scheme, you can submit your application directly online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-grant-through-the-kickstart-scheme

You will need:

  • the Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number (public bodies enter ‘0’)
  • the organisation address and contact details
  • details of the job placements and their location
  • supporting information to show that the job placements are new jobs and meet the Kickstart Scheme criteria
  • information about the support the organisation can give to develop employability skills of young people

If you are unable to offer this many vacancies, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number with a nominated representative.

A list of Kickstart gateways can be found on the UK Government website.

Northamptonshire is listed in East Midlands, Bedfordshire and Luton in East of England and Milton Keynes in South East.

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding per placement to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

What happens next?

The application will be reviewed to check it meets the requirements of the Kickstart Scheme. It will then go to a panel for consideration. This is not a competitive process, but Kickstart will only provide funding when the job placements meet the criteria.

  • You may be contacted for further information as part of your application.
  • The aim is to provide responses to applications within 1 month.
  • If the application meets the requirements of the scheme, you will receive a letter with a grant agreement. This agreement will include what your company has agreed to provide, and how much funding you will receive from the Kickstart Scheme.
  • You will be asked to sign and return your grant agreement, using the details in the letter, before any job placements can begin.
  • You will need to provide job descriptions for each of the job placements you applied for. This should include what candidates need to do to apply for the job placement.
  • You will then be contacted by the young people who have been matched to your job placement by work coaches who will have been supported to be prepared for the application. Employers will interview applicants and select the best candidate for the role.

How funding is paid

You will receive initial setup costs when you have confirmed the young person has started work, is enrolled on your payroll and is being paid through PAYE.

DWP will use information to check that the young person is still employed and will pay the grant in arrears.

DWP may contact you or the young person during the job placement to check what employability support has been offered. This is to make sure the young person has the best experience from the scheme.

Contact information

If you need help with the Kickstart Scheme process, you can email:

Please include the following information in your email:

  • email subject
  • company name
  • main contact
  • preferred contact information (for example phone or email)
  • your postcode
  • town or city of your proposed job placements

You will receive a telephone call from your local employer contact or the national contact within 2 working days.

Adviza - https://www.adviza.org.uk/services/national-careers-service/regional-redeployment-service/

For businesses in Milton Keynes, the Regional Redeployment Service supports employers needing to make redundancies and those looking to recruit due to the impact of COVID-19.

Apprenticeships can develop the skills and train people in almost all business types and sectors, at all levels; from Intermediate to Masters; for all ages from 16; for both new recruits and existing employees.

In 2016/17, over 16,000 people across the South East Midlands area participated in apprenticeships. Evidence from the National Apprenticeship Service, show the benefits to businesses to be:

  • Apprentices boost productivity on average by £214 per week
  • 87% of employers were satisfied with their apprenticeship programme
  • 75% of businesses reported an improvement in the quality of their product or service by having an apprentice

In May 2017, the Government changed apprenticeship funding. An Apprenticeship Levy is applied to all UK employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3m. If this applies to your business, estimate your apprenticeship funding.

Support for Larger Business Support Levy payers

Support for Small and Medium Business Support (non-levy payers)

  • Get in touch: Our team of Business Advisers who can provide free guidance to SME employers interested in taking on an apprentice.
  • SMEs can also register with Apprentice Makers to see case studies and connect with other businesses to learn from their experiences:
  • We can also put you in touch with Apprentice Ambassadors from businesses who can talk to you about their experiences and best practice.

Want to find out more? View SEMLEP's Apprenticeship Guide.

Supporting Careers in Construction, Engineering and Building Services

The Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme (CLC TRS) is available to help individuals showcase their experience and expertise and help businesses find the skills they need.

https://www.trs-system.co.uk/construction