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An equal Plan for Jobs for deaf young people

Photo: The Plan for Jobs needs to provide more targeted support for young deaf people

The Chancellor announced the Plan for Jobs in July 2020 to try and prevent mass unemployment caused by COVID-19 and the lockdown. But the Plan doesn’t provide anywhere near enough support for deaf young people looking for work. We are urgently campaigning to change this – will you join us?

Your stories:

"I have applied for over 40 jobs and apprenticeships since leaving college, but got nowhere. The situation is getting worse because of COVID-19. I feel left out because my friends are happy having found a job, apprenticeship or gone to university."

Chris from Essex

Equal plan for jobs quote image

What is the issue?

Unemployment rates are rising rapidly, particularly among young people. This has a devastating effect on young peoples’ health, well-being, security, and income.

The rate of unemployment is already higher among disabled people. Research also suggests they are more affected during challenging job markets.

The Plan for Jobs includes several initiatives to support young job seekers. But it does not offer any targeted support for disabled young people. We fear that employers will now offer fewer internships to disabled young people due to the demand to offer Kickstart placements.

The government needs to take further action. If they don't, many young disabled people are at risk of becoming long-term unemployed. We must stop this crisis from happening.

Key facts:

The latest Office for National Statistics employment data shows a significant increase in the unemployment rate of disabled young people from 16% in September 2019 to 23% in September 2020.

The same data shows that unemployment is rising faster among disabled young people compared to those without a disability.

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What are we doing?

We are part of a coalition of 11 charities that are pressing the government to make changes to their Plan for Jobs.

We wrote to the Chancellor in late July with our recommendations to change the Plan.

We then talked to officials at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education. But they have not announced any specific policies for disabled young people so far.

We are now contacting politicians to support the campaign and try and put pressure on the government to make changes.

What can you do?

There is no better way to get a politician’s attention than if a constituent contacts them. So, please share your concerns with them and press them to act by completing the e-action.

Take action:

It’s time for the Government to take action. Tell your MP what it’s like for deaf young people who are looking for work.

Contact your MP

Please also share your stories on social media using the hashtag #EqualPlanForJobs. This will help to raise the profile of the issue with the public. We will check the hashtag and promote useful content. We will also post campaign updates on this hashtag.

What are we calling on the government to do?

For the Department for Work and Pensions:

1. Publish an Equality Impact Assessment of the Kickstart scheme and ensure that the initial evaluation of the scheme considers the experiences of disabled participants.

2. Work with our coalition to produce a framework that sets out the targeted support disabled young people accessing the Kickstart scheme should have from Gateway organisations.

3. Work with DfE to enable employers currently providing supported internships to offer Kickstart placements to their interns.

4. Promote the Disability Confident scheme and supported internships to employers who are providing Kickstart placements.

5. The Kickstart scheme is made open to a wider group than just those claiming Universal Credit (e.g. those who held Education, Health and Care plans in education and young people on Employment Support Allowance).

6. Doubling the number of Disability Employment Advisors in line with the doubling of work coaches to ensure sufficient capacity to provide effective support.

For the Department for Education:

1. Provide £2,000 incentive payments to employers that offer supported internships in order to provide parity with apprenticeships.

2. Work with the DWP to enable supported internship employers to offer Kickstart placements to young people completing their supported internships.

3. New careers advisors within the National Careers Service to receive disability awareness training to enable them to provide improved support for disabled people.

Deaf Works Everywhere

Deaf Works Everywhere is our campaign to get more deaf young people into work – and into jobs that inspire them.

Many deaf young people believe their career options are limited, but with the right support and adjustments in place, deaf people can work in a wide range of jobs.

What deaf young people are telling us

Our Young People’s Advisory Board (YAB) told us about their experiences with careers. They also consulted with more than 100 deaf young people across the UK and reported their stories back to us.

Only 12% of deaf young people aged 15 to 18 had received tailored careers advice – there’s a real risk that this lack of tailored support will affect deaf young people's confidence and limit the choices they make.

We’re calling for better careers support, more work experience and volunteering opportunities, and challenging expectations of what deaf young people can achieve.

Read the full YAB report here

To discuss these recommendations further please contact:

Martin McLean, Post-14 Policy Lead at the National Deaf Children’s Society. [email protected]