Jobseekers must ‘hit the ground running’

Posted on 07/04/2014 by

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New rules ‘treat people like adults’

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Simply ‘signing-on’ for benefits will be a thing of the past under new rules coming into force at the end of this month which will mean jobseekers will have to do more to find work.

Employment Minister Esther McVey has hailed the new rules as a ‘fundamental shift in expectations’ which helps put to an end the one-way street to benefits where people start claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) by just signing-on without first taking steps to make themselves attractive to employers.

From the end of this month, jobseekers will be expected to take the first basic steps to make themselves employable before meeting with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. More regular meetings with their adviser – weekly instead of fortnightly – are also planned ‘so they get more support up front’.

Minister for Employment Esther McVey (pictured below)  said: “With the economy growing, unemployment falling and record numbers of people in work, now is the time to start expecting more of people if they want to claim benefits. It’s only right that we should ask people to take the first basic steps to getting a job before they start claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – it will show they are taking their search for work seriously.

This is about treating people like adults and setting out clearly what is expected of them so they can hit the ground running. In return, we will give people as much help and support as possible to move off benefits and into work because we know from employers that it’s the people who are prepared and enthusiastic who are most likely to get the job.”

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To prepare for their first interview with a Jobcentre Plus adviser, jobseekers will be asked to do things like preparing a CV, setting up an email address and registering for the government’s new jobs website. This change will mean people start their JSA claim ready to look for work and will show they are serious about finding a job as quickly as possible.

People who need it will also have more regular meetings with their Jobcentre Plus adviser – weekly rather than fortnightly – to ensure they are doing everything they can to look for work and to quickly identify any gaps in their worksearch.

All new JSA claimants will also now have a quarterly review with their adviser where they will review their progress and job goals to identify what more they can do to move into work. This will mirror reviews that are carried out in the workplace to look at achievements and areas for development.

The Westminster government says that the employment picture is improving across the country. They say the  new measures are being introduced as figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by over 363,000 on the year,  the largest annual fall since 1998. The number of young people claiming JSA has been falling for the last 21 months.

Office for National Statistics figures also show that the employment rate has hit a 5-year high and a record 30.19 million people are now in jobs. Private sector employment has increased by 1.73 million since 2010, showing the government’s long-term economic plan is proving successful.

The latest figures also show the number of job vacancies increased in the last 3 months by 23,000 to 588,000.

The number of people who are unemployed fell by 63,000 in the last 3 months, with the number of people who have been unemployed for over a year falling by 38,000. The number of unemployed young people also fell by 29,000 and has been falling now for the last 6 months.

The government says it is committed to helping people off benefits and into work and the vast majority of people move off JSA quickly – over 75% of people end their JSA claim within 6 months.

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Do you think the new rules help get more people into work? Let us know ..

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