Furlough scheme extended until March: how can workers capitalise

In light of the second lockdown coming into force in England yesterday, the Treasury announced that the furlough scheme would be extended until March in a bid to support businesses and help keep workers employed. While this is good news for some, for those ambitious employees who are placed back onto the scheme, there may be a sense of frustration as career plans and development may be put on hold once again.

For individuals who may be placed onto this scheme, but who are hoping to develop their skills still, freelancing during this period may be one solution.

The Future Strategy Club (https://futurestrategyclub.com) are a new type of umbrella or co-agency, who work with freelancers while honing their skills and offering Learning and Development support.

The rise of co-agencies, such as The Future Strategy Club, has been prevalent during the lockdown period as an increasing number of workers turn their hand to freelance work as a source of extra income, or as a new career move in the wake of furlough and redundancies.

In post-COVID times, the importance of short-term, freelance talent cannot be underestimated. 29% of business leaders have already streamlined their teams during the pandemic, and may be looking for talented individuals to help get projects off the ground as business begins to pick up once more. 

Justin Small, Founder of The Future Strategy Club, discusses the importance of freelancers post-COVID: 

“At The Future Strategy Club, we work with a body of these experienced individuals who now have many years' worth of skills to tap in to, having weathered the 2008 crisis and now COVID-19. Now, with kids and mortgages in tow, stepping back onto an upwards facing career ladder is not on the agenda. For the majority of these entrepreneurial self-starters, they see the COVID-19 period as an opportunity to work for themselves, choose their own working environment and gain true security from their own knowledge and skillset.

Although historically, freelancers have been excluded from the benefits of the permanent workforce - including workplace culture, socialisation and support networks - it is clear that the perception of freelancers and skilled consulting work has long needed an overhaul. Now, with the turbulence caused by the lockdown crisis, the private sector’s reliance on flexible workers will not only become apparent but crucial to its survival, delivering a positive step for the gig economy and its importance to the wider economy.”

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