[holding answer 9 November 2009]: Jobcentre Plus is equipped to offer advice to everyone who is looking for work. While most people find work relatively quickly and need only a little support from Jobcentre Plus others will require far more help. This is provided through a structured process of regular jobsearch reviews and support from our personal advisers on opportunities to help overcome things that may be making it harder to find work.
As part of this, we have enhanced the package of support provided to people with extra support prior to redundancy, when they are newly unemployed, and at the six and 12 month points of their claim including a subsidy for employers, voluntary work and help to set up a business. For customers facing redundancy we have increased funding for the Rapid Response Service which is delivered in conjunction with partner organisations in Coventry and Warwickshire. This ensures that local resources are clearly targeted and includes areas such as skills assessments and short training as well as jobsearch programmes to help people move quickly into employment and training.
To coincide with the national launch of “Backing Young Britain” in July this year Jobcentre Plus in Coventry engaged with 25 key local employers, partners and stakeholders to secure their personal commitment to offering jobs, apprenticeships, work trials, work experience, internships and mentoring advice. We have also launched the Future Jobs Fund, worth around £1 billion, which aims to create at least 100,000 new jobs for those aged 18-24 nationally. A further 50,000 jobs will be created in areas of high unemployment and all customers, irrespective of their age, will be eligible.
In Coventry 29 per cent. of jobseeker’s allowance customers are aged between 18-24 years old. There have been a wide range of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors who have made successful bids. To date approximately 8,000 jobs have been identified in the West Midlands.
In October 2009, we also introduced the flexible new deal. The flexible new deal is delivered by contracted service providers working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus. In Coventry and Warwickshire these are Serco and Pertemps.
Within the 12 months of starting on flexible new deal, jobseekers will undertake a minimum of four weeks of either full-time employment or continuous mandatory full time work-related activity. Jobcentre Plus will deliver early stages of the regime (before customers are referred to a provider), pay benefits and maintain contact with the customer through fortnightly signing. The flexible new deal gives providers the flexibility to deliver a more personalised and tailored service to the individual employment and skills needs of long-term jobseekers.
Jobcentre Plus in Coventry is working closely with a range of employers in both the public and private sectors in securing local employment partnerships (LEPS). LEPs are a key tool in supporting people from disadvantaged communities back into work. Jobcentre Plus work closely with customers, employers and partners to tailor a programme to ensure that individuals are job ready. Coventry city council is one of the leading public sector LEP recruiters and the HSBC processing centre in Coventry recently won the West Midlands 2009 LEP “Unlocking Talent” award.