FSB calls for Work Trials extension as unemployment rises

Small business body claims initiative could create 46,000 jobs


As many as 46,000 jobs could be created by extending the Work Trials initiative, a leading business body has claimed.

The Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB’s) announcement came as the latest employment figures were released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday … revealing that UK unemployment increased by 38,000 to 2.49 million in the three months to June. These figures cancel out the 30,000 jobs the chancellor of the exchequer hoped to create with his new enterprise zones, prompting the FSB to claim that the government isn’t doing enough to create jobs and get people back to work.

Support from small businesses

Work Trials provide a voluntary programme which enables employees to try a professional role before taking on a permanent position with that business. The FSB’s recent Voice of Small Business survey revealed that 23% of small firms say Work Trials would create an incentive to taking on staff. However, the programme is currently only available for individuals who have been on Job Seeker’s Allowance for six months or longer. The FSB is pressing the government to extend this, so that jobseekers become eligible for the scheme as soon as they begin claiming unemployment benefit. This follows research which revealed that nearly half of all jobs beginning with a Work Trial have led to a permanent job in that business. John Walker, national chairman of the FSB said: “Small businesses are more likely to hire people that have been in long-term unemployment, and Work Trials are a good way to get people back into work and learning skills … and for small businesses to move forward with taking on staff and growing. “Small firms are willing to play their part in tackling unemployment but lack confidence in their business prospects (and) the economy.”

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