If you use my blog links on anything like a regular basis you will be well informed about the world of social enterprise. The wise heads I follow are leading thinkers, commentators, agitators and satirists and serve to keep the rest of us honest in our assessment of progress. One of the most incisive thinkers has to our friend David Floyd at Beanbags and Bullshit who posted a few days ago on Future Jobs Fund. I encourage you to read the blog Looking to the Future, in its entirety because, as always, David has done his homework. The points he makes are illustrated by his experience of the Future 500, SEL’s program to enable unemployed young people access jobs in social enterprise. I was chuffed to read that his experience of our scheme was a positive one, and that the points he makes from it was that firstly, social enterprises found FJF helpful, secondly that young people did got jobs through FJF and lastly that it might have been expensive in relative terms but what is the real cost of failure? I would like to add to Government consideration, more specifically that of the DWP, that there might be a need to choose between affordability and success. They could, for instance, put an unemployed young person on hypothetically, scheme A which cost £6000 (FJF) and has a 65% chance of securing the desired outcome (SEL’s post program retention rate) or scheme B which is a more affordable £2400 (the average cost of a back to work scheme) where they have a 25% (average commercial success rate) chance of getting a job. When Government’s own statistics point to the lifetime cost of missing the window of employability when a young person comes out of school or higher education in the hundreds of thousands, the maths seems simple.
We hope to utilise our considerable experience in getting young people into social enterprise jobs as we work with partners on the new Work Programme for 2011, here in London. Lets hope in the scrabble to engage with this vital agenda there is time to listen to those with commitment and track record.