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ken brotherston talint partners CEO

Budget speech focusses on childcare and the return to work for the over-50s

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A returnship of enhanced skilled programmes more appealing to the older workforce will be implemented 

According to Jeremy’s Hunt’s budget speech, the UK will now not enter a technical recession this year as previously modelled (didn’t pandemic modellers teach us anything?) by with independent forecasters, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), agreeing. Another big win for consumers and corporations alike is that inflation is expected to more than halve and reduce to 2.9% by the end of the year.

From a workforce perspective, a lot of the Chancellor’s Budget Speech specifically focused on two distinct groups of people – working parents and the over-50s and their much-coveted return to work? And for those he’s done quite a bit…

Parents who work 16 hours a week with children aged nine months to five years, will be given 15 hours of free childcare to encourage caregivers to enter the workforce. This will, however, be staggered from April 2024 to ensure enough places. Children up to two years old will get 15 hours free from April 2024, children from nine months up will benefit from September 2024, and from September 2025 every single working parent of a child under five will have access to 30 hours free childcare per week.

This is sure to free up those grandparents who have become caregivers to grandchildren and will therefore be in a position to re-enter the workforce – even in a part time capacity.

Off the golf course and into the workforce

The Chancellor will go even further and offer a new apprenticeship, called a ‘returnership’ that will be created for those aged 50 and older wanting to return to work. Mr Hunt said it will make existing skills programmes more appealing for older workers and focus on previous experience.

There has long since been a call by TA leaders for those over 50 to return to the workforce. They bring with them transferable skills and invaluable experience that could most certainly solve some of the problems organisations are experiencing amid talent shortages.

So, whilst there are still many challenges facing the wider workforce, not least around immigration and productivity, these two measures offer some practical and hopefully rapid relief to two of the most pressing challenges.

Ken Brotherston, CEO at TALiNT Partners commented: “For some time we’ve been saying that the workforce/talent agenda isn’t just something that has never been more important but is actually the most important issue organisations face and it seems the Chancellor agrees with us.

Rarely has a budget been more focussed on the issues of helping employers find and keep the people they need and support for families with young children (code for ‘get more women into work’) and the ‘returnerships’ for us oldies will hopefully stimulate employers more generally to think differently and more creatively about how to build the workforces for today’s economy.”

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