The new paper, commissioned jointly by Newcastle-based education and skills charity NCFE and the Campaign for Learning (CfL), warns of a ‘very different September’ to the one the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions planned for back in January.
The paper warns that by the start of the next academic year, the economy could be 15% smaller and unemployment 1.5 million higher, reaching 2.75 million.
Despite the welcome and generous wage subsidy programmes introduced by the Government, it is expected that there will be fewer businesses as some go bust, including levy and non-levy payers funding apprenticeships.
It also notes that, as seen in previous downturns, young people will be most significantly impacted, with an extra 54,000 16 and 17-year-olds from September who will need to meet the duty to participate in education and training.
Nearly 450,000 18 to 24-year-olds will also be leaving full-time further and higher education, flooding the labour market in search of jobs.
The paper highlights the fact that adults aged 25 and over will suffer too, noting that there will be more who are unemployed and looking for work to support them and their families.
‘There is no time to lose,’ according to Dr Susan Pember OBE, director of policy for HOLEX and one of the paper’s authors.
Mark Corney, a policy consultant who co-authored the paper, added that the Government must put ‘a plan in place by June, ready for September’, arguing that waiting for the Spending Review planned for the Autumn would be ‘too late’.
According to the paper, this plan should – among other measures – maximise participation in full-time further education, expand traineeships and introduce programme-led training to offset the loss of jobs for 16 to 17-year-olds; enable as many as possible 18 to 25-year-olds to enter full-time higher education and resist any national cap on student numbers; and extend the entitlement to free adult education for first full Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications to adults of any age.