The government is to launch a multi-million pound drive to tackle white collar unemployment, including architects, as the recession deepens
In an interview with the Independent, Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell (pictured) singled out architects, bankers and lawyers as among those to benefit.
From April, extra help will be provided at Job Centres for some 350,000 people who have no recent experience of looking for work. Those that sign on will get a one-on-one meeting with a personal advisor, will attend group sessions with people in similar situations, and will be given tips on changing careers.
Furthermore, the government will pay agencies such as Reed to aid people who are seeking senior executive posts.
However Purnell denied that the £40 million scheme would channel money to the better off rather than those really struggling.
‘No one will be getting help that is denied to other people,’ he said. ‘We want to make sure everyone looking for work has the skills and confidence they need to find a suitable job as quickly as possible. That is why we are going to give newly unemployed people who need it access to specialist help.’
Purnell added the current recession was affecting a broader range of sectors than previously experienced. ‘In previous recessions, certain regions or sectors were badly hit,’ he said. ‘This recession is different: it is very evenly spread across all regions and sectors.’
Riba welcomed the government’s move. In a statement to the AJ, it said: ‘This is the first-time the Government has actively taken steps to address the serious problems faced by architects in the current economic recession, and so we welcome this scheme supporting architects who are going through a very difficult time. The effect of the global financial crisis and its impact on the architectural profession is the RIBA’s top concern; we will continue to do everything possible to support our members and the wider industry.”
Unemployment is set to pass the two million mark next week and the government is expecting a sharp rise for at least another three months.