From education to employment

Peter Hain meets former claimants who successfully found work through the Local Employment Partnersh

“Employment Partnership helps claimants find work

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Peter Hain has recently met with a number of former claimants of long term benefits who have been helped into work through a Local Employment Partnership (LEP) in the Welsh town of Maesteg.

The partnership between Jobcentre Plus and a new Tesco store, which opened at the beginning of November, has been running since May of this year, when meetings were held to discuss the location of a recruitment centre and upcoming interviews.

The store at Maesteg, a town that has experienced higher unemployment than other parts of the local authority area, has now created 180 jobs, a quarter of which have gone to long term benefit claimants.

Peter Hain said: “I”m really enthused to see local employment partnerships spanning out across the country and making their mark here in Wales. This particular LEP is giving the chance to 45 long term claimants from the area to be a part of the 180 strong workforce, half of whom have been recruited through Jobcentre Plus.

“A decade ago those on benefits, in particular Incapacity Benefit, were effectively written off with no hope of accessing the labour market. This was a totally unacceptable situation where the state simply gave up on whole communities.”

Mr Hain welcomed the involvement of major UK employers, such as Tesco, in joining LEPs and helping people find work where they had previously been unable. He said it was indicative of the faith that businesses had in their local community to come in and help fill the vacancies that exist in the economy.

He added: “I have said that there are vacancies in the UK that employers are desperate to fill, and that with the right training and help, people who have previously been on benefits can be the solution.

“Working together I believe LEPs can play a crucial role in helping to get people who may have given up on the idea that they could contribute in the workplace to realise their potential and get back into the labour market, which is good news for them, their family and their local community.”

Paul Malbon

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