Earlier this year I wrote about why the Civil Service must become an engine for social mobility. This ambition cannot be met unless we ensure that all civil servants, whoever they are and whatever their background, are able to rise to the very top of our organisation. But it is also crucial that we help those from outside our organisation overcome the barriers they face. That is why for the past three years we have been part of the Movement to Work initiative.
Movement to Work (MtW) was set up in 2013 to tackle youth unemployment by offering quality work experience and learning. Some of Britain's leading employers, including M&S, Accenture, Centrica, HSBC, BT and BAE Systems and, of course, the Civil Service, are part of the initiative. To date, 41,000 young people have taken part in MtW placements, with the majority going on to secure a job.
How has the Civil Service been involved?
As part of the national programme, departments across the Civil Service have collectively agreed to offer 6,000 MtW placements a year since 2014. Each placement lasts 4 to 6 weeks. During that time, young people participating in the scheme have the opportunity to experience the real world of work while gaining new skills that will help improve their job prospects.
I am delighted to announce that the Civil Service has not only exceeded its target for the number of placements, but has also achieved significantly improved outcomes for the young people taking part. By tracking the destinations of participants, we know that, on average, 50% are no longer in receipt of benefits 13 weeks after completing their placement, with 58% having moved into work. That’s over 7,500 young people who have used their experience of working in the Civil Service to gain employment.
A recent survey asked participants to describe in their own words what the placement had done for them. Here are just a few of the things they said:
... it changed my life.
... I would still be going nowhere if it wasn't for MtW.
... I'm now in full time employment in the Civil Service. It was a great programme, and I would recommend it to everyone.
... the experience and skills that I learned helped me to get a job soon after my placement ended.
The future of Movement to Work
We’ve again committed to offer a further 6,000 placements in 2016/17, and a record number of departments are taking part. Our ongoing focus will be to improve participants’ job prospects by continuing to build on the links between MtW and other Civil Service recruitment activity. We’ve already seen some MtW participants go on to Civil Service apprenticeships, and this is potentially a great - and more diverse - source of future civil servants.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to those who have worked so hard to make the scheme a success, particularly Jobcentre Plus,who have operated the scheme for the Civil Service. If you want to find out more about the programme or think you could offer a young person a placement opportunity in your business area, please get in touch with your departmental HR team.