Jobcentre Plus is an organisation that helps people to get either jobs, benefits or both. Originally a concept of Winston Churchill and William Beveridge, the Labour Exchanges were first created in the early 20th Century. Labour Exchanges, or Job Centres as they eventually became known, were the result of the problems with employment as far back as 1908.
There were lots of problems with the employment situation back then caused by temporary employment positions and people not having enough money to live on. William Henry Beveridge was the first Baron Beveridge and an expert on employment, unemployment and social reform.
In 1908 the current political leaders had decided that a government funded payment for people who were unemployed and living in appalling poverty would be created and Baron Beveridge was asked to compile a study of the benefits of Labour Exchanges with this benefit. Labour Exchanges were first opened in 1910 and were designed as a place that all people needing to hire employees could advertise and people needing to find work could come and apply in.
Originally the unemployment benefit was only made to people who had paid enough National Insurance contributions and then only for 12 months. National Insurance was implemented in 1911 and was only paid by people who were working in a recognised trade such as the building, engineering and shipbuilding trades.
Many people were still suffering from poverty as they had not paid these contributions and so therefore where unable to claim unemployment benefit. The devisors of this scheme had seen a part of the problem, but not the whole problem including people in other types of industry or employment and the problems of people even in the trades who had no work because of long term illness or disability.
In 1918 the rules were changed to allow unemployed ex-service staff to claim the benefit along with people who had no more work once the war production industries began to falter. This original dole money otherwise known as out of work assistance was supposed to have been a temporary measure but as time went on the need for the benefit continued and it was unable to be stopped.
In 1946 the National Assistance Act came into play and this was when the benefit began to be available to people regardless of whether or not they had paid National Insurance Contributions. The situation remained the same with Labour Exchanges providing a middle man service between employers and employees, incorporating unemployment benefit until 1990 when the new Jobcentres started to open. These provided a service where all the Jobcentres provided was the employment side of the equation rather than the benefit side, so now you had Jobcentres to go for to seek employment and the benefits offices to go to for your assistance payments.
In 2002 the Jobcentres and the benefits agencies became merged again in Jobcentre Plus; a place where you could not only go to advertise or seek work but where you got personal assistance to do so. Employment related benefits such and Jobseekers allowance (which replaced unemployment benefit), Income Support (for people working or otherwise that did not have enough money to support themselves or their families), Incapacity Benefit (for people who had to leave work due to long term illness) and Employment Support Allowance (for people with long term illness or disability who worked but did not earn very much) could also be applied for and dealt with in the JobCentre Plus offices.
As from 2011 JobCentre Plus has been taken over by the Department of Work and Pensions and is now run by them although the brand and the logo of JobCentre Plus remains the same as it was before.
Today you find JobCentre Plus offices in every town and city throughout the United Kingdom and they continue to offer an incredible amount of help to both employers and employees alike.
Coming into the age of technology people looking for work can speak to advisors who have all available jobs on their computers or use the in house touch screen computers situated throughout the offices to search for jobs themselves.
If you wish to use the JobCentre Plus services you can start the process by telephoning your local office and making an appointment or popping in and talking to someone face to face. This office now offers services to a whole range of people, from the employers advertising jobs, unemployed people looking for work, part time employees looking to get more work, students and school leavers looking to enter the job market and people with special needs who need a bit more assistance in getting a job.
Offering schemes to help people find work or develop skills, they work closely with the local communities organising work initiatives and volunteering schemes to help people gain experience in their chosen field of work.
Your original appointment there will be with an advisor who will interview you about every aspect of employment. They will talk about past work experience, reasons for being unemployed, training you have or want to do and what your financial situation is. From these questions they will build a Back to Work plan with you, where they organise all the benefits you are entitled to while you are seeking work, set you up with interviews in appropriate jobs, help you fill out a CV and see what training or experience you could most use.
In order to get the benefits that this service offers you have to fulfill certain criteria such as making sure you apply for lots of jobs and can prove that you have and attending regular meetings to see how things go. If you stop applying for work or miss an appointment they can and will stop your benefit until you get in to sort it out. Each office has a manager and any problems can be sorted out with him/her but you have to be there to get the help.
JobCentre Plus is an excellent resource and should be used as much as possible if you are seeking employment. Make sure that you are going there regularly, signing in to claim your benefits and constantly making use of all the schemes the office provides to help you get into a good job that you will enjoy as quickly as possible.