The Department for Work and Pensions have announced a new scheme which aims to offer targeted support to those who have been unemployed for over three months. 

Yesterday (5th October 2020) the Government announced a new scheme called JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support) which is aimed at people who are unemployed due to the effects of COVID-19.

Backed by a £238 million investment, this scheme would allow people who are Universal Credit All Work related Requirements claimants (AWRR) and New Style Jobseekers Allowance claimants (JSA) to receive tailored support that aims to get them back into work.  The type of support offered would involve specialist advice on how people can move into growing sectors as well as CV and interview coaching.

Due to this, the Department for Work and Pensions is recruiting around 13,500 Work Coaches which would double the total number to 27,000 for this year. These Work Coaches are responsible for agreeing an ‘action plan’ with the job hunters, which the Government hopes will give “job hunters the boost they need to return to employment”.

This Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme has already gone live in several places around the UK including Lincolnshire, Staffordshire, Durham, Cumbria, Devon and some areas of Wales and London. Other areas are expected to receive this scheme over the next month and Scotland will receive this scheme early next year.

The Government has specifically flagged up SWAPs, Sector Based Work Programmes, as a “particularly relevant” part of this scheme as it allows people “to move between industries, allowing them to find work in sectors that are growing and hiring”.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, said:

JETS will give recently unemployed people the helping hand they need to get back into work, boosting the prospects of more than a quarter of a million people across Britain.

This scheme will help those left out of work as a result of Covid-19, and is one strand of our wider Plan for Jobs which will also support young people onto the jobs ladder through Kickstart, offer the training needed to pivot into new roles through our Sector Based Work Academy Programme and prepare people for getting back into work.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

Our unprecedented support has protected millions of livelihoods and businesses since the start of the pandemic, but I’ve always been clear that we can’t save every job.

I’ve spoken about the damaging effects of being out of work, but through JETS we will provide fresh opportunities to those that have sadly lost their jobs, to ensure that nobody is left without hope.

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, suggested that much more needed to be done to help the unemployed, stating:

We are on the verge of an unemployment crisis. Today’s announcements are just a drop in the ocean.

Ministers must do much more to stop people losing their jobs. That means real help now for industries facing a tough winter, like aviation, retail and hospitality.

And ministers need to do far more to create good new jobs. TUC research shows that we could create 1.2 million new jobs in the next two years in green transport and infrastructure.

And people who lose their jobs must get the support they need to get back on their feet. That means investing in a major retraining programme, support for the self-employed and urgently raising the rate of Universal Credit to stop people being plunged into poverty.