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Jobcentres: Darlington

Volume 747: debated on Monday 18 March 2024

8. What steps his Department is taking to increase the support offered by Jobcentres in Darlington. (902025)

The team are working tirelessly with Darlington Borough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority and other partners to deliver through job fairs, SWAPs and skills bootcamps.

I thank my hon. Friend for her answer, and may I be the first in the Chamber to wish her a very happy birthday? In addition to the issues that she has highlighted, may I highlight the wonderful work that Darlington jobcentre has done in setting up its Facebook page? Does she agree that it is a template for others to follow, and will she come to Darlington and meet my fantastic work coaches?

I thank my hon. Friend—it is seemingly quite a large number on my birthday cards today.

My hon. Friend has been a fantastic champion of his local jobcentre, and has campaigned vigorously to ensure that Darlington is at the forefront of innovation. I will be meeting his team in April. I have been to seven jobcentres since the last DWP questions, and I will make sure that his work coaches are at the top of my list.

The Minister, in her response to the hon. Member for Darlington (Peter Gibson), has emphasised what she will do for his local jobcentre. Whatever she will do for Darlington, she will also do for the rest of the United Kingdom, including my constituency of Strangford. Across this great United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, how can we work better with further education colleges to get our young people ready for the jobs that become available?

I talk regularly to colleagues in the Department for Education, ensuring that those skilled boot camp SWAPs make people job-ready, because they have not only the experience but a guaranteed interview. That is the way we are driving those numbers up.