By Max Clarke
John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning (BIS), and Chris Grayling, Minister for Employment (DWP), today demonstrated their joint commitment to a new approach, providing the training needed to help unemployed people into work.
BIS and DWP are working closely together to introduce reforms that will free Jobcentre Plus and training providers from unnecessary bureaucracy and centralisation so they can better respond to the needs of their local communities.
This is a fundamental part of the Government’s commitment to support economic growth by supporting employers with the skills they need, and helping people to reduce their reliance on benefits.
John Hayes said: “With the right training and support we believe the unemployed can get the skills they need to get jobs and employers will benefit too.
“Reforming the way the skills and employment and benefit systems interact at a local level is critical to our success. My department is working together with DWP, the JCP and employers to make this happen.
“We will ensure that colleges and training providers have the freedom they need to meet the demands of local businesses, and in turn we expect them to meet the needs of their communities, including people who are unemployed.”
Chris Grayling said: “We are determined to make sure people receive the opportunities, support, training and encouragement to get back into employment and we will be working with employers, training providers, local authorities and the third sector to achieve this.
“Our Work Programme will offer tailored support to the long-term unemployed from this summer delivered by private and voluntary sector providers and more personalised support will be available through Jobcentre Plus.”
“People will receive support but they will have to do their bit. When they are offered a training course to boost their employability they will be expected to attend.”
Mr Hayes and Mr Grayling are visiting Brighton today, where they will meet staff from Brighton Jobcentre Plus and City College Brighton and Hove to understand their success to date and how this is working on the ground. They will hold a roundtable discussion with local representatives from employers, the Probation Service, learning providers, Next Step careers advice, Local Enterprise Partnership, Jobcentre Plus and the Local Authority to discuss best practice in getting the unemployed and offenders back into work.
This morning they met with directors from the business, skills and employment sectors — including the Federation of Small Businesses, Jobcentre Plus, the CBI, the SFA and the Association of Colleges — to discuss how to form strong working relationships at a local level to improve outcomes for the unemployed, as well as employers.
Skills Funding Agency Chief Executive Geoff Russell said: “Unemployed people deserve our very best collaborative efforts to drive up aspiration and opportunity. In today’s highly competitive economy skills are the passport to ensuring that people find and - most importantly - keep a job.
“Clearly, the Next Step service and training providers have a vital role in supporting the skills needs of both individuals and employers but we must focus on outcomes for real people in real situations if we are to support sustainable, private sector led growth in the economy.”
Darra Singh, Jobcentre Plus Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to ensuring Jobcentre Plus and local training providers can work together to help unemployed people with personalised support into work.
“We are listening to employers, local authorities and charities to find ways to provide the best training and support to help people into work as well as working with other government departments.”