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Vocational Training: Lone Parents

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2009, Official Report, column 1210W, on vocational training: lone parents, what steps his Department took in response to the results of the research into non-participation. (268859)

The Department set up a project team to respond to the policy and operational issues raised by the report findings. A number of issues were identified, in particular training, childcare and raising the profile of New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) and, as a result, the following steps have been taken to address those issues identified:

Refresher training and clear desk aids have been provided in the use of the Labour Market System. In addition, clearer guidance concerning the definition of participation in NDLP has been published;

A range of strategies have been developed to help change the attitudes of parents and advisers to focus on the positive outcomes children gain from formal childcare;

Key messages have been provided to Jobcentre Plus staff to emphasise the gains to be made by a parent moving into work and the impact on child poverty;

A lone parent caseload strategy was developed to raise the awareness and understanding of NDLP and encourage advisers to explicitly promote its benefits and invite a greater number of lone parents to participate in the NDLP programme; and

Jobcentre Plus delivered a series of workshops to lone parent advisers which focused on the key interviewing and influencing techniques that advisers need to assist lone parents engage with NDLP.