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A new target to move half a million people into jobs by the end of June launches today, under ambitious government plans to turbo-charge our national recovery from COVID-19.
As we move out of the pandemic, with restrictions lifted and life returning to normal, the ‘Way to Work’ campaign will focus on getting job-ready people off Universal Credit and into work, rapidly filling vacancies which are at a record high.
Targeted predominantly at those in the intensive work search group on Universal Credit, Way to Work will support people back into work faster than ever before and filling vacancies more quickly. Latest figures from the ONS show that the demand for workers is there, with a record 1.2 million vacancies to fill, 59% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
To support people into work faster those who are capable of work will be expected to search more widely for available jobs from the fourth week of their claim, rather than from three months as is currently the case.
This clearer focus will ensure that, if people are not able to find work in their previous occupation or sector, they are expected to look for work in another sector and this will be part of their requirements for receiving their benefit payment.
For the vast majority of people who are already engaging fully with Jobcentre Plus, this could be the extra support they need to secure a job. However, for the small minority who do not engage, the sanctions regime will operate as usual.
They will be supported in this with more time spent face to face with a Work Coach to receive better, tailored support. We know work is the best way for people to get on, to improve their lives and support their families because people are at least £6,000 better off in full time work than on benefits.
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:
Helping people get any job now, means they can get a better job and progress into a career.
Way to Work is a step change in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our jobcentre network and excellent Work Coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.
As we emerge from COVID, we are going to tackle supply challenges and support the continued economic recovery by getting people into work. Our new approach will help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:
It’s important that everyone has the opportunity and support to find a good job to help them get on in life. That’s why we’re doubling down on our Plan for Jobs with this new campaign to harness the talent of jobseekers and support employers to fill vacancies, find work and create new opportunities.
Together we will boost this country’s jobs-led recovery.
Building on the success of the flagship Kickstart Scheme, DWP will work with a wider range of employers to cement positive relationships and show them the good quality of candidates coming through jobcentres.
This includes through direct engagement with employers across booming sectors like construction, haulage and logistics and social care, and over 350 jobs fairs mobilised across every region in the coming months. Major employers including Balfour Beatty, Whitbread Group, TalkTalk, Bourne Leisure, Ocado and Kier are already throwing their weight behind the campaign.
Ian Nicholas, Global Managing Director, Reed said:
We’ve been working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions for a number of years and in the drive to get people into work, this is now more important than ever. Working closely with the DWP has provided us with valuable access to people looking for work. Those not already working closely with the department should consider the benefits it can bring both for business and the UK economy.
Tony Ellender, Head of Professional Development, Balfour Beatty said:
Balfour Beatty is delighted to be working with DWP to promote our wide range of opportunities in construction.
Lisa Taylor, Head of Resourcing, Whitbread said:
Many of those who have joined us from the jobcentres during our time working closely together have gone on to build a successful career with us or maintain long term employment. At Whitbread, we passionately believe that by working together with Jobcentre Plus we can make a real difference to the lives of jobseekers in this country through our no barriers to entry and no limits to ambition approach, as well as being a force for good in our local communities.
Daniel Kasmir, Chief of People and Procurement at TalkTalk said:
We are happy to be working with DWP in exploring all recruitment solutions to look to fill our vacancies and will continue to do so with this push for jobs.
Anne Blyth, Talent Director, Haven said:
Work Coaches have enabled us to link with over 50 jobcentres across the UK supporting our parks from Scotland to Cornwall. Understanding the great opportunities in hospitality, the DWP has also provided extensive support for our recruitment programme referring candidates and providing, support for interviews, for assessment days and job fairs.
Cat Pardoe, Recruitment Business Partner, Kier Group PLC said:
Since taking the Kickstart process in-house, we have had the benefit of meeting with our DWP Account Manager on a fortnightly basis, and regularly reviewing progress has had a positive impact on our relationships with job centres. As job centres know their local markets well, the quality of candidates has been good; one job centre we work with has run events to drive interest in some of our opportunities, which has been hugely beneficial in promoting our roles to a new audience.
We’ve successfully offered a number of Kickstart placement employees permanent and apprenticeship opportunities at Kier, from construction management assistant, to HR administrators and information security analysts.
Jonatan Gal, VP for Customer Fulfilment, UK, Amazon said:
Amazon is proud to offer excellent career opportunities for job-seekers, as well as great pay and benefits. Working collaboratively with the DWP, both locally and at a national level, has enabled us to find great candidates the length and breadth of the UK.
Locally, our teams know that when they partner with Jobcentre Plus they will be supported by local work coaches and will receive applications from high quality, local candidates. And at a national level, we recruit talented, committed job-seekers through our work with the National Employer Partnership Team (NEPT) on key initiatives, such as the Care Leaver Covenant and the Disability Confident Scheme.
Under existing rules claimants have 3 months to find a job in their preferred sector before facing the prospect of sanctions. New rules will mean that sanctions could begin 4 weeks after their initial UC claim, if they’re not making reasonable efforts to find and secure a job in any sector or turn down a job offer.
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