Unemployment: West Midlands

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 9th March 2022.

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Photo of Stuart Anderson Stuart Anderson Conservative, Wolverhampton South West

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce unemployment rates across the West Midlands.

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

Throughout the pandemic, the UK Government has provided over £400 billion to support the economy, including funding for our Plan for Jobs. The Kickstart Scheme has enabled young people to move into employment, with many of these securing permanent jobs. Alongside this, the Restart Scheme offers a fresh start to those who have been unemployed for over 9 months. The scheme breaks down employment barriers that could potentially prevent jobseekers from finding work. In addition, to support those who may need extra help, we are delivering the following employability programmes; Job Entry Targeted Support, Intensive Personalised Employment Support and Work & Health Programme.

Way to Work is a campaign to help half a million job ready claimants into work by the end of June 2022. We are building on the success of Kickstart to work closely with employers and aim to move claimants into work quicker; through recruitment days, job fairs and work trials. We will be stepping up our expectations of claimants and taking a robust approach to ensure agreements made through the Claimant Commitments are adhered to.

In addition, our jobcentre teams are helping employers find the right people for their vacancies, particularly through the Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP), Skills Bootcamps, Apprenticeships and Traineeships. For example, the local team are working with the West Midlands Mayoral Authority to help equip people with the skills needed to fill vacancies for the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Across the West Midlands, Jobcentres work collaboratively with the National Career Service (NCS) and Further Education Colleges to provide careers information, advice, and guidance so that jobseekers can make informed decisions on learning, training, and work. Collaborating with partners such as the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the seven West Midlands Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local Chambers of Commerce, to progress our strategic aims to increase diversity in the workplace, promote Disability Confident to reduce the disability gap in the workplace and increase skills provision in those sectors that are experiencing labour shortages.

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