The Help to Work scheme - a new intensive support to get the long-term unemployed into work was launched last week and I thought it would be helpful to send a short brief.
A key part of our long-term economic plan is to move to greater employment, making sure that everyone who can work is given the support and opportunity to do so. We are seeing record levels of employment in Britain as more and more people move to the security of a job – but we need to look at those who are persistently stuck on benefits for a number of years.
We know that most people move off Jobseeker's Allowance quickly, but there's always more to do, which is why we are providing additional support to the very small minority of claimants who have been unemployed for a number of years. Industry figures show that around half a million long-term claimants have already found work through the Work Programme.The Help to Work Scheme will give jobcentre staff a new range of options to support the hardest to help and provide more support to the long-term unemployed than ever before.
It will involve three options:
• Attending the Jobcentre every day. The daily meeting with their adviser would include discussing the progress made in looking for work, such as the number of job searches or applications made, or new activity to improve their skills base. This support will last for three months and is designed for claimants who are close to the labour market and would benefit from regular support with looking for jobs, including those who need to build motivation, momentum and engagement. Currently, a claimant only needs to attend once every two weeks. Help will be available with travel costs for those who need it.
• Community Work Placements. Claimants who lack work experience - and where this is felt to be holding them back from finding a job - may be asked to undertake a placement, which will also benefit their local community. This would include a range of roles in the voluntary and community sector that will give the claimant skills and experience within the work place. This could include gardening projects, running community cafes or even restoring historical sites and war memorials. The placements will be for up to six months for 30 hours a week and will be backed up by at least four hours of supported job searching each week to help turn the experience into full time employment.
• Intensive Jobcentre support. For jobseekers with multiple or complex barriers to work the Jobcentre Plus advisors will spend more time with the claimant looking at how to tailor a back to work support, with more flexibility to send people on intensive training schemes, ad hoc funding to overcome issues blocking a return to work such as initial travel costs or suitable clothes for a job interview, and referrals to work experience opportunities with local organisations.
This will ensure that they have the skills, confidence and experience to be able to increase their chances of getting a job so that they have the security of a regular pay packet, meaning they can provide for themselves and their families..
Over 70 organisations from the private, voluntary, charity, SME and local authority sectors are already contracted to provide placements for they recognise the positive benefits it has on their organisations, the local community and the jobseeker.
This is another important step in turning around the situation we inherited where a million and a half people spent the last decade out of work. The long-term unemployed almost doubled between 2008 and 2010 to 783,000 - we’re helping them, giving new opportunity and new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.