Skip to main content

Jobseekers and People on Low Incomes: Skills

Volume 721: debated on Monday 31 October 2022

6. What steps his Department is taking to help ensure jobseekers and people on low incomes develop the skills required for highly skilled and well-paid jobs. (901915)

15. What steps his Department is taking to help ensure jobseekers and people on low incomes develop the skills required for highly skilled and well-paid jobs. (901924)

Our dedicated work coaches engage with claimants to determine what additional support they may need to enter or progress in work. Where skills gaps are identified, claimants will be encouraged to access skills-related employment programmes such as sector-based work academies, skills boot camps or appropriate local training provision.

My constituent in Clwyd South, Kerry Mackay, recently wrote to me saying:

“There’s lots of talk about getting people back into work and those on low incomes finding a better job, but I think the government is missing a trick by not highlighting how much they will help people, single mothers and mature students like me, to get a decent education and ultimately pull themselves out of poverty for good.”

Will the Minister advertise as effectively as possible how universal credit can support people like Kerry to study for their degrees?

We want to support our constituents like Kerry, and I thank my hon. Friend for his question. I suggest that he writes to me with the specific details, but I can assure him and Kerry that recipients of UC can take part in training without compromising their benefit entitlement. Generally, there are great efforts being made to ensure that people who want to get into work can do so.

I welcome the new Secretary of State to his place, and the whole of his new Front-Bench team. I am sure that we can expect great things. Does my hon. Friend the Minister agree that apprenticeships and further education are a key way of upskilling our young people? Will he visit Southend West soon and meet some of our successful apprentices, such as Holly at Guardian Exhibition and Display in Eastwood, and Ipeco in Southend, which also offers fantastic apprenticeships?

All roads lead to Southend as far as I am concerned. My hon. Friend is proving to be a fantastic champion and successor of our good friend Sir David Amess. I would be delighted to visit. I welcome the great work of the companies she mentioned and believe very strongly that we need to improve skills through the package that we are taking forward.

May I start by sending my condolences and thoughts to all those who were tragically killed in Seoul, South Korea, at the weekend? I am sure that we will all be thinking of them at this time.

Education, formal and informal, is vital to developing a highly skilled workforce. Adults with neurodivergences such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may require personalised support with their learning. What assessment has the Minister made of the efficacy of the support currently in place, and what steps are the Government taking to improve it?

Skills and education are a devolved matter. I echo the hon. Lady’s worthwhile words about South Korea. Obviously, great work is being done in youth hubs in particular, which I recommend to her.