Success story: Gavin Ramsay got palced by Social Enterprise London, with the help of Future Jobs Fund.
Ian Duncan Smith told the Today programme how the Future Jobs Fund had underperformed by creating jobs in the public sector that didn't last. Nothing could have been further from the truth in social enterprise.
Take for example the Social Enterprise London (SEL) programme where we found over 500 young people jobs in social enterprises, of which a staggering 65% remained in work or returned to full time education. Pretty impressive in the teeth of a recession.
While I cannot comment on how Future Jobs Fund performed in the public sector I can say something about the way social enterprise rose to the challenge. It performed well in two key ways. First, social entrepreneurs were great at offering jobs, in fact we are still getting offers because there are people who want to encourage the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Second, social enterprise is popular with young people so we had no problem recruiting those who were looking for jobs and willing to work hard.
Gavin Ramsey 24, from Haringey, after a sustained period of unemployment, spent six months on the programme working for Four Corners Film, an arts and media social enterprise based in Tower Hamlets. He accessed the Future Jobs Fund through SEL.
"My time here at Four Corners has boosted my confidence, improved my administration and office skills and reintroduced me to the workplace with reinvigorated ambition. I'm privileged to be working for such a unique organisation and sincerely hope the Future Jobs Fund initiative continues to provide opportunities for people in my position," he said.
We get daily calls from people looking for and offering jobs. We are passionate about connecting the growing number of unemployed young people with the working world of social enterprise. We estimate we could have got over 2000 young people into jobs had the Future Jobs Fund continued.
If you're thinking why we can't just hook up the jobs to the applicants, it is a little harder than that. Employers want to be protected against inappropriate candidates, and young people who often suffer from severe lack of confidence don't respond well to the wrong placement. In this scenario having contact with the community of employers and offering the right brokerage services is key to success.
Ian Duncan Smith mentioned the welfare to work programme and apprentice scheme. We have looked at both. A small organisation like SEL can do little more than subcontract under the welfare to work programme and somehow scale seems to be a predominant feature which is not working in our favour where ever we go these days.
I do hope we can help young people to get access to social enterprise jobs. Without new blood we will lose our momentum, social enterprise is a young idea with the energy and creativity that is fed by young optimism and drive. As a mother, I cannot bare the thought of young people stuck at home willing and able to work but denied the opportunity to do so. It just seems mad.