Millions of jobseekers will be able to access longer work-related training while in receipt of benefits to boost their chances of finding employment. 

Later this month, DWP Train and Progress (TaP), a new DWP initiative aimed at increasing access to training opportunities for claimants, will see an extension to the length of time people can receive Universal Credit while undertaking work-focused study.

Initially available for six months, the amount of time Universal Credit claimants can take part in full-time training will extend to up to 12 weeks throughout Great Britain - up from the current 8 weeks.

The change will ensure those receiving UC and in the intensive work search group can take advantage of sector-specific training from digital skills to social care and engineering while receiving the financial support they need.

It includes access to the Level 3 adult offer, with the Department for Work and Pensions today announcing it will go even further and increase this to 16 weeks for those enrolled on L3 Skills Bootcamps.

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, said:

A lack of relevant skills can hold people back from landing a job, so we’re helping people to progress by opening up a wider choice of training opportunities and qualifications for those on Universal Credit to be part of.

This new flexibility will really help jobseekers across the country to boost their chances of finding fresh roles, particularly in growing sectors, and builds on the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs which is already helping people gain the skills needed to thrive in new employment.

Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, Tony Wilson, said:

This is welcome news from the government. Even while employment has fallen overall during this crisis, our research has shown that it has continued to rise in areas like professional services, technology and healthcare.

We need to be doing a lot more to help those out of work to get the skills that they need to prepare for and take up these new jobs, and today’s announcement will play an important part in that - by ensuring that more of those on Universal Credit can continue to get financial support while they train.

The increased flexibility is aimed at better aligning government support, providing a vital link between jobcentres and careers services, with access to the provision agreed between jobseekers and their Work Coach.

The move comes as the UK government launches almost 400 additional free qualifications as part of the UK government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, and follows the announcement earlier this week of a further 13,500 Work Coaches in Jobcentres across the country. To find out more information talk to your Work Coach.

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