Six training and employment companies from the private and voluntary sectors have been awarded contracts to deliver the next stage of the government’s flagship Pathways to Work programme.
The successful contractors will deliver the programme in 15 Jobcentre Plus districts throughout the UK from December.
The companies who have been awarded contracts are: Action for Employment, Seetec, Shaw Trust, TNG, Triage Central and WorkDirections.
Pathways to Work provides extra help for people on incapacity benefits to find work. It includes support from personal advisers, including additional work focused interviews, rehabilitation support, a return-to-work credit of £40 a week, and in-work support.
The annoucement builds on the recommendations of the Freud Review, which suggested greater use of the private and voluntary sectors to help benefit claimants.
Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain said: “It is a fact that government does not have all the answers to meet every challenge. And so the private and voluntary sectors must – and in my plans will – have an enhanced role to give individualised attention and support and to lever in new finance.”
The contracts will help prepare a key group of people for the work available through the new initiative of local employment partnerships, where leading employers work with the government to provide opportunities for individuals who have had difficulty in getting into work.
Sixty-four employers are already committed to this partnership and a further 150 are in discussion with the government, aiming to create 250,000 job opportunities for people in the UK.
A second phase of contracts will be announced later this year and will cover the remaining 16 Jobcentre Plus districts.