Bath success for back-to-work scheme
A controversial Government scheme aimed at getting the unemployed back into the workplace is seeing success in Bath.
The Work Programme, launched less than two years ago by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is aimed at getting the long-term unemployed into work.
Government officials had hoped to get 11.9 per cent of the country's unemployed into jobs within the first year of the scheme, but figures released last month revealed only 3.6 per cent of claimants on the scheme moved off benefits into sustained employment.
However, charities in Bath that are part of the Work Programme believe the scheme is working, and are now joining forces. Tomorrow's People and JHP Employability say that, with more than 1,300 people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) in the area, there is no room for rivalry.
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At a joint jobs fair, Alex Johnston, operations for JHP Employability in Bath and Trowbridge, said: "The Work Programme has improved dramatically. The whole Work Programme is not where it should be according to the DWP, but we can see there has been a huge number of people that we've got into work and kept in work."
Between them, the charities are supporting more than 1,400 people who are either claiming JSA or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which is for people who struggle to find work because they are ill or disabled.
Employment engagement adviser at Tomorrow's People, Kirsty Usher, said: "We have local people who want to work and they should get local jobs. We wouldn't dream of putting forward candidates that are unsuitable. We look for sustainable employment opportunities for the right people.
She added: "We are proactive and give people the tools they need. We encourage people to take control of their own lives and futures – we're not here to do it for them."