By Max Clarke

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will see the Office for National Statistics publish the UK’s latest employment statistics, likely confirming a rise in unemployment.

Having edged back from its peak of 2.53 million, the UK’s jobless total is widely believed to rise, offsetting the surprise gains in employment seen earlier this year.

In a bid to combat this, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the Government to extend Work Trials, creating some 50,000 jobs in the process.

With around 1.64 million people having been out of work for up to one year and unemployment currently standing at 2.45 million, the FSB believes the Government needs to do more to get people back into employment. The FSB's ‘Voice of Small Business' survey panel shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of small firms think Work Trials would act as an incentive to taking on staff.

“Small businesses are more likely to hire people that have been in long-term unemployment,” said John Walker, the FSB’s Chairman, “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.”

Work Trials are voluntary programmes that allow employers and employees to try a role before taking on a permanent position within the business. Currently, Work Trials are available to those who have been on Job Seekers Allowance for at least six months.

FSB research shows that small business confidence has dropped, and although small businesses want to employ, they lack the resources they need to take on a member of staff.

Work Trials are beneficial for both the employer and the employee as they offer key skills to help businesses move forward while at the same time ensure the person on the work trial is learning new skills. Research shows that nearly half of all jobs beginning with a Work Trial have led to a permanent job in that business.

Continued Walker: "Extending Work Trials could help to create an extra 46,000 much-needed jobs and help people get back into work at such a difficult time, so the FSB is urging the Government to extend this very straightforward scheme from the first day someone signs on. The Government simply must do more if it wants the private sector to pick up the slack from public sector cuts. This would be a good start in helping to tackle unemployment"


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