ERSA chair challenges Ministers to 'think hard'

Published on 15 Aug 2016

ERSA Chair, Kirsty McHugh, has challenged Ministers to 'think hard' before reducing the scale and specialism of the employability sector, in an article released in FE News.

Ms McHugh points to the dangers of over reacting to a current employment picture, where some 74.4% people are in work, citing the economic uncertainties raised by Brexit.

"What we don't want as a country, is to cut away capacity in employment services if we are going to need them in one, two or five years' time," says Ms McHugh.

"The focus on disability and health is important and shouldn't be lost. However, we also need to consider the scale of what we might need as well as its specialism."

With tight budgets, disability benefit cuts and uncertainty about European funding, there is growing expectation that Government will continue to commit less money to employability support - some suggesting as much as an 80% cut.

Many will see such a policy as sensible given that unemployment is at its lowest rate for a decade, yet Ms McHugh suggests that that it is path that may leave the industry ill equipped to tackle the challenges it may face in the near future.

"As the ministers wade through those bulging in-trays, we're asking them to think hard.

"Is this really the time to downsize government funding for employment support? Are we really confident about our economic future? And if the storm were to hit, will we be prepared to weather it?"

APM was headline sponsor of the 2016 ERSA Employability Awards.