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Way to Work: New jobs mission to get 500,000 into work by the end of June 2022

Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

A new target to move half a million people into jobs by the end of June launches today (27 Jun), under ambitious government plans to turbo-charge our national recovery from COVID-19.

  • New goal to get 500,000 benefit claimants into jobs by end of June    
  • ‘Way to Work’ campaign launches to help fill record numbers of vacancies at pace, supporting ‘job-ready’ people into the labour market and helping them progress into a career    
  • Improved partnerships with employers, more time spent face to face with work coaches and new requirements on claimants to search for and take jobs in any sector    

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.

Sector response

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said:

“There are 1.1 million workers missing from the labour market compared to pre-pandemic trends, making life difficult for employers wanting to recruit. This ‘crackdown’ won’t make a significant impact on those numbers and it’s not where the real challenges lie.

“People who’ve recently lost their jobs are the most likely to find work quickly. To tackle current labour shortages, we need a more ambitious plan for people who have left the labour market, with support increasing the longer someone is out of work. That should be the urgent priority for a new Plan for Jobs.”

Simon Ashworth is Director of Policy at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).

Simon Ashworth, Association of Employment and Learning Providers Director of Policy said:

“We understand the need to move more people into work, given shortages in the labour market. However, any government approach shouldn’t just be about a period of ‘intensive job search’. A more holistic approach is needed and key to this is how DWP work coaches support those looking for work.

“Work coaches should be properly informed and understand the options available to help individuals into the right opportunity. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case previously as we have seen blanket referrals to Kickstart – and we are starting to see the same pattern developing with Restart. This means the role of traineeships and Skills Bootcamps are not promoted enough. These are excellent employment and skills programmes that can shift unemployed people into work with training included quickly and should be prioritised.”

Dan Howard, Operations Director of Learning for Work, NCFE
Dan Howard, Operations Director of Learning for Wor

Dan Howard, NCFE’s Operations Director of Learning for Work, said:

“NCFE welcomes any interventions from government that help people gain meaningful and sustained employment.

“The Department for Work and Pensions has rightly addressed the gaping vacancies in our labour market that need to be filled but do we have the skilled workforce to fill them?

“The Way to Work scheme presents a number of positives such as more tailored support for jobseekers, however we need an increased focus on skills if this is to be more than a quick fix approach.

“Long-term investment in skills is the only way to get our workforce back on track. At NCFE, we develop courses that respond to skills shortages and empower our learners through shaping smarter learning solutions.”

Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

“Good jobs should offer a reliable route out of poverty, but today’s announcement won’t help to deliver that and completely misses the point. It will only apply to about 130,000 people, which is around one in twenty of those out of work and claiming Universal Credit, and only just over a quarter of the government’s stated ambition of getting half a million people back to work.

“The more significant challenge we face is ensuring that the labour market and social security system works for people who are not subject to these conditions – because they’re sick, disabled or have young children. While overall there may be job vacancies available, this doesn’t mean that they will then match up with someone’s location, skill level or flexibility requirements, and the threat of sanctions is no way to change that.

“If the Government is serious about tackling poverty then it also needs to take urgent action on the rising cost of living, which has a disproportionate impact on low income families both in and out of work.”

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.”

Bleu Stessia, Kickstart Manager, Haven.com 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.”

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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