My hon. Friend will be aware that we have committed to recruit an additional 13,500 work coaches by March 2021, and we are on track to meet that. Since July, 5,468 have been recruited, and I had the pleasure of meeting some of our new London recruits at the Department for Work and Pensions’ Caxton House. I was delighted by the additional positivity, diversity of skills and fresh knowledge they bring to the DWP family.
It is great to hear that progress is being made on that, and I am sure the Minister would agree that its success depends not just on quantity, but quality. Can she confirm what measures are being taken to ensure that these coaches have the right experience and training to ensure that they provide real value? In recognising that people will have vastly different needs, what will be done to ensure that they are connected with the right coach, rather than just a coach?
All our new work coaches receive six weeks’ up-front training. That includes a week’s induction, followed by an initial 25 days’ intensive training, 20 days’ facilitated learning and five days’ consolidation. Their ongoing learning continues with access to action learning sets, bite-sized products and a learning hub to help build their confidence and skills as they continue to grow in their role. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that a second round of recruitment will kick off in his region in the run-up to Christmas, looking for almost 200 more work coaches.