Opinion

Send the Department of Work and Pensions to college to learn how to tackle the jobs crisis

Written by: Ian Mean, Business West Gloucestershire | Posted 14 September 2020 5:59

Send the Department of Work and Pensions to college to learn how to tackle the jobs crisis

Against all the Covid odds, Gloucester’s MP, Richard Graham pulled off a great LiftOff event at Kingsholm for the future job prospects of young people in our county.  

Richard had persuaded all our MPs to be represented plus two government ministers.  

I have warned previously of what I called a potential tsunami in jobs facing our young people by the end of this year.  

So, it was good to see our MPs agreeing with me and backing Richard to get to grips with the challenge.  

Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk was honest enough to tell the audience at Gloucester Rugby that we faced “a huge crisis of employment”.  

He is absolutely right and I see that former Chancellor and Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is also now warning of a “tsunami of mass unemployment”.

I was impressed by the honesty of Apprenticeships Minister, Gillian Keegan at LiftOffand Employment Minister, Mims Davies who opened it virtually.  

But I am not impressed by what seems to me to be a lack of a solid plan by the Department of Work and Pensions to help our young people into jobs.  

We are told that the DWP Job Centres on the High Street are recruiting lots more staff. That is not the answer to help the young people.  

I think, and our excellent further education colleges here think similarly, that the DWP should operate from the colleges.  

And it was good to see Stroud MP Siobahn Baillie, who attended LiftOff with her baby daughter, tweeting afterwards to agree with me.  

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College with Gloucestershire College do a superb job with apprenticeships.  

Let’s get them to help our young people by getting the Department of Work and Pensions to use the colleges to spread the word on the job opportunities for our young people.  

They deserve it and our colleges are the experts.  

Ian Mean is a director of Business West, Gloucestershire