The UK government has launched a new employment programme worth £238 million to help job seekers find new employment. The Job Entry Target Scheme (JETS) will offer coaching and advice to job seekers who have been out of work for at least 3 months. It also aims to encourage individuals to move into growing sectors, such as care and construction. To help deliver the new scheme, the Department for Work and Pensions is hiring an additional 13,500 individuals as “work coaches”.

News of the scheme comes as latest figures show that unemployment in the UK is the highest it has been for 2 years. According to the statistics, young people have been particularly badly hit; and current estimates state that over 4 million people could be left unemployed as a result of difficulties faced by companies dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Terese Coffey, said that the JETS scheme ”will help those left out of work as a result of Covid-19, and is one strand of our wider Plan for Jobs which will also support young people onto the jobs ladder through Kickstart, offer the training needed to pivot into new roles through our Sector Based Work Academy Programme and prepare people for getting back into work”. But the scheme has faced criticism from the Labour Party, who say that it’s “too little, too late.”

This latest announcement comes as the government’s furlough scheme is due to stop at the end of October before being replaced by the new Job Support Scheme. Nearly 3 million people are currently on full or partial furlough, with many redundancies expected in the coming weeks. 

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, previously admitted that not every job will be able to be saved by either of the job retention schemes, but says that the scheme aims “to ensure that nobody is left without hope” and “through JETS we will provide fresh opportunities to those that have sadly lost their jobs.” 

The scheme launches across England throughout October, with Scotland expected to join early next year.