The government is recruiting a further 13,500 Jobcentre Plus work coaches, amid growing fears about rising unemployment over the winter.
By March 2021 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) hopes to have a total of 27,000 work coaches – frontline Jobcentre Plus staff who support the unemployed into jobs – in place across the UK.
Recruitment and retention during Covid
The first tranche of its “rapid recruitment plan” will involve getting an additional 4,500 work coaches in place by October 2020. A further 9,000 are expected to join the DWP by March next year.
Employment minister Mims Davies said: “Getting Britain back into work is key to our national recovery and our DWP work coaches are on the frontline of this effort – boosting their numbers means we can build back stronger.
“Our work coaches not only deliver financial support to millions of claimants across the country, but take time to listen, encourage, advise, and ensure everyone has access to the best support available – helping those facing a tough time get back on their feet sooner.”
The closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other government support measures for businesses next month is widely predicted to result in a wave of job losses. Earlier this year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projected that unemployment could reach 14.8% if the UK suffers a second wave of Covid-19, while the Resolution Foundation has predicted that youth unemployment could top 1 million.
Those who join the DWP as work coaches will be trained to deliver programmes including the Kickstart scheme, which puts young people receiving unemployment benefits in six-month work placements and DWP’s sector-based work academy placements, which help people learn new skills through a mixture of work experience and training.
They will also be responsible for coordinating retraining opportunities for people looking to start a new career and helping with basic skills such as CV writing and interview preparation.