A new target to move half a million people into jobs by the end of June launched this week, under ambitious government plans to turbo-charge our national recovery
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.
Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality, said: “We hope that this new Government initiative will contribute to plugging hospitality’s jobs gap, which remains a huge threat to recovery for the sector and, by extension, the wider economy.
“With restrictions now lifted, it has been heart-breaking to see venues that were so desperate to trade fully for the first time in nearly two years, forced to reduce their opening hours or simply not open at all due to a lack of staff. This is a serious threat to businesses that are carrying huge debts and little or no cash reserves, especially as we get closer to a cliff edge in April when the sector faces a rise in VAT, business rates and labour costs.
“We will be working with Jobcentres and sector businesses to connect jobseekers with jobs in a strengthened partnership. Hospitality is a wonderful industry to work in, and provides interesting, exciting and rewarding long-term careers but in order to continue this and to invest in job creation, the industry will need support from the Government, including a commitment to keep VAT permanently at its current rate of 12.5%.”
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.