New work initiatives help county buck jobless trend
By Simon Hacker | 17th March 2023
With UK unemployment figures in the dolldrums, Jobcentre Work Coaches in Gloucestershire are optimistic that they can maximise on Gloucestershire's 'vibrant' jobs market with a new series of initiatives to help people back into work.
Latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for unemployment shows UK figures rose by 0.1% over the previous three-month period, a trend driven by part-time employees and self-employed workers.
The ONS said: "The unemployment rate for November 2022 to January 2023 was largely unchanged on the quarter at 3.7%. The number of people unemployed for over 12 months increased slightly in the latest three-month period."
In December 2022 to February 2023, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 51,000 on the quarter, to 1,124,000.
"Vacancies fell on the quarter for the eighth consecutive period and reflects uncertainty across industries, as survey respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment."
But for the Gloucestershire focus, the DWP sounds an optimistic note.
Mike Nicholls, DWP work coach team leader for the area, said: "Across our county, Jobcentre Work Coaches are still taking advantage of Gloucestershire's vibrant labour market to help jobseekers find work and businesses to fill their vacancies.
"Jobcentres are offering tailored support to jobseekers to give them the confidence and skills to become valued employees. We have been delivering events aimed at addressing the needs of specific groups. Gloucester Jobcentre has worked with its partners to organise a jobclub aimed at the 20 to 30 age group, while Stroud Jobcentre has arranged a bespoke course for jobseekers aged 50 and over."
The DWP also recognises that there are many people with health conditions who are still able and willing to work, he said.
"On March 22nd in Stroud we will be holding a Work Ability event during which people with a health condition or disability van speak to local employers, learn new skills and access further support.
"In order to help businesses fill their vacancies, our jobseekers need to understand the skills and behaviours required in different employment sectors. To meet these needs, and those of our local employers, we run a series of courses under the banner of the Sector-Based Work Academy Programme."
Placements are designed to help people to improve their job, while also helping employers with current vacancies to fill them, he added.
"In Gloucestershire, we continually run these courses with the support of training providers and employers and current opportunities cover areas such as admin, security, teaching assistants and health and beauty.
"And we are still holding successful jobsfairs in our local Jobcentres on a regular basis."
The Twitter account @JCPinGloucester flags vacancies across the county and provides job-hunting tips and careers advice.
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