Written by the Department for Work and Pensions
A new target to move half a million people into jobs by the end of June launches today, under ambitious government plans to turbo-charge our national recovery from COVID-19.
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.
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 job-led recovery.Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak
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.
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.