UK Government Plans Training 'Bootcamps' to Address Labor Shortage Amid Immigration Cuts

The UK government is set to introduce skills 'boot camps' to train unemployed people for jobs in sectors such as hospitality, social care and logistics.

The initiative, announced by Mel Stride, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, aims to tackle the potential labor shortage caused by the crackdown on migrant visas.

Stride will highlight that Britain has relied on labor from abroad for too long and will highlight the need to tap into the 'hidden army' of British workers. This approach is part of a broader strategy to reduce dependence on foreign workers by utilizing domestic talent.

The boot camps will initially focus on the 1.5 million unemployed people who are actively looking for work. However, the government plans to expand the program to the 2.8 million long-term sick people and others currently outside the labor force.

Stride expressed concern about the rise in “hidden unemployment” and the economically inactive population, including seven million people not working or studying. He emphasized the importance of integrating these individuals into the workforce to help them reap the financial, social and health benefits of employment.

Last week, Stride and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt highlighted the availability of “wide opportunities” for the unemployed and outlined plans to help them find work. The new visa rules, which are expected to reduce immigration by 300,000 people annually, pose a challenge for certain sectors, but also provide an opportunity for domestic job seekers to fill these roles.

Employment center training programmes, skills bootcamps and revised recruitment rules will be used to fill vacancies for UK workers. The government also wants to encourage employers to make simple changes to attract workers, such as improving access to public toilets to encourage more women to become truck drivers.

Funding for these initiatives will come from the £2.5 billion allocated to existing return to work programs such as the Restart scheme, which provides tailored employment support to the long-term unemployed. The government is taking a carrot-and-stick approach, threatening to cut off benefits to unemployed people who do not accept job offers after 12 months of support.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is positioning welfare reform as a key issue for the upcoming election, arguing that Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer would avoid making the necessary changes to reduce the cost of sick pay and get people back to work to get.

Alison McGovern, Labour's acting shadow work and pensions secretary, criticized the Conservative approach, saying: “The Conservatives have undermined our skills and training system. And we now have record levels of net migration. They should be putting in place good plans to tackle labor shortages and adopting Labour's plans to link the immigration system to skills, not setting up another support group. Labor has a plan to get Britain to work by cutting NHS waiting lists, reforming job centers, making work pay and helping people into good jobs.”

This new initiative represents a significant effort by the UK government to tackle the looming labor shortage caused by stricter immigration policies, with a focus on harnessing domestic talent through targeted training and support programmes.

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