Covid-19: Promotion of Employment Opportunities

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

What steps her Department is taking to promote employment opportunities as the economy reopens and the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Chair, European Statutory Instruments Committee, Chair, European Statutory Instruments Committee

What steps her Department is taking to promote employment opportunities as the economy reopens and the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We have launched A Good Place to Start, a new labour market campaign that includes two key websites—Job help and Employer help—which provide additional information, tools and links to other sites, including DWP’s Find a job service, for current vacancies, and the Department for Education’s Skills Toolkit.

Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

My constituency currently has the highest claimant count in the whole UK, as the crisis has exposed the dependence of my local economy on tourism and insecure seasonal work. What steps is my hon. Friend taking to support those in communities such as Blackpool who are currently out of work to retrain and acquire the skills needed to find future employment?

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important issue. I highlight the work that our staff in jobcentres are doing tirelessly to support people with their claims throughout the pandemic, and that work continues. Indeed, our work coaches have made more than a quarter of a million outbound customer-support calls each week, and they are also organising virtual job fairs. In Blackpool, they are working with the local authority on a virtual adult learning and education programme, hosted online and through Google Classroom. Upcoming from 4 July is a sector-based work academy for recruitment around the pleasure beach, and we are also training people through our mentoring circles. I encourage every Member in the House to contact their local jobcentre to find out about what we are already doing to support their local community.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Chair, European Statutory Instruments Committee, Chair, European Statutory Instruments Committee

As the economy reopens, it will look different. One sector that has grown fast and will continue to grow is the digital sector. The Federation of Small Businesses in North Yorkshire has told me that a key need of its members is increased digital skills—it wants to see more training. How will my hon. Friend ensure that as they work to match people with vacancies, jobcentres are handling the changing needs of employers in the digital economy?

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I regularly meet Ministers from DFE and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure that we are doing exactly that. Work includes figuring out how claimants can be supported to gain those key skills and to pivot into those sectors where there are vacancies as the economy recovers. Jobcentres work with their local training providers to ensure that a range of courses is available to help claimants to find that new opportunity or some better-paid work.