Looking for Work

The government is all about getting people back into work or into work for the first time, so if you are actively seeking employment there are all kinds of ways that you can get assistance from financial to practical. Your first port of call in this instance is your Jobcentre Plus as the advisors there can help you will everything from applying for benefits, applying for jobs, handling interviews and much more.

Help Getting A Job

When you first approach your Jobcentre Plus with your intention to look for work you will be offered and appointment that is called a New Jobseeker Interview. In order to apply for any financial or practical help you need to attend this interview so be sure to make it at a time that you know you can attend.

At this interview the advisor will talk to you about all aspects of finding a job, getting benefits while you look and all the help that is available. You will discuss your existing qualifications, skills and experience as well as the types of work you are looking for. They will examine your current financial situation and see if you are entitled to any benefits and if so which ones you qualify for. They will also give you any help you may need in filling out claim forms and explain to you what will happen next in the claim process. At this interview as well, you will work out a plan of attack with the advisor as to how you are going to go about seeking your new employment. Getting certain benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance is dependent on your being able to prove that you are actively seeking a job and your advisor will give you tools to allow you to prove that such as a Jobsearch Diary (ES4JP).

At this interview you will create and sign a document that outlines all that you have agreed to do to look for work and will also go into any extra support you could get to help you. Signing this agreement and then following the steps and proving that you have done so will grant you eligibility to Jobseeker’s Allowance if your financial situation deems that you need it.

The advisor will show you where you can get extra help in your job search, for example where you can get training or retraining in your preferred field of work. It could be that you need help with compiling a Curriculum Vitae (CV), techniques for how to survive interviews, help with the whole job seeking process if it is new to your or a long time since you have needed to look for work. You can get information about Access courses if your reading and writing skills are not up to scratch or even help with your English if it is not your first language. You can also find out about training in new skills, useful if your current skills are not needed much in the local job market, or if you fancy a change of career and want to retrain. All of these issues and more will be discussed with your advisor and between you a return to work plan will be created. This will then be put on the official document called the Jobseeker’s Agreement which you will sign to say that you agree with the whole plan and are happy to carry it out. You also agree that failure to carry out the agreement will affect your eligibility to the benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Other Interviews you Might Have and Support you can Get.

Once you have attended this first interview, you may be asked to return for one or a selection of other interviews, depending upon what was identified as your needs in the New Jobseeker Interview. These interviews may not be with your original advisor, but instead with one better able to help you carry out the things that were put in your Agreement. It might be the original advisor if he or she has specialist skills that you need or feels that they can offer you some of the best support, but it also might be one or several other advisors. If it is with your original advisor it is known as an Additional Advisor Interview and here you will have a chance to go into better detail about the help you need. It might be that in the first interview you could only touch the surface of your needs and the advisor needs more time to identify what additional help could be forthcoming. It could be to assist you with filling in your benefit claims or showing you how the Jobcentre Plus works in terms of applying for jobs advertised there. If you have special needs, for example learning difficulties you may speak to your advisor about this in greater depth so that they can work out the best way of supporting you.

If you go for an interview with someone else however, it will not be and Additional Advisor Interview, but something different. It could be to discuss the possibility of you volunteering for work to gain new skills and experience in a particular field of work. Although while volunteering you are not actively seeking a new job, being prepared to learn these new skills is seen by the Jobcentre Plus as showing enthusiasm for getting a new job and is looked very favourably upon. There are two types of voluntary work agency associated with Jobseeker Plus, the Voluntary Work Experience for young people aged 16 to 20 to experience what it is like working in different jobs or for different types of employer. There is also the Work Together program which is just so that you can volunteer to learn a new skill, gain some experience, or even just to show on your CV that you are not afraid to work.

You may be asked to attend an interview about a Work Club or an Enterprise Club. These are support groups for people who are either seeking new employment or contemplating becoming self-employed. The Work Club will be a regular meeting where you can network with others who are either looking for work or offering work and to help you find out all the local information that is there to assist in your job search. It is usually run by local people who have an interest in employment, businesses, volunteers, local councils or voluntary community groups. Here you can get access to all kinds of help, sometimes even to actually find a job itself, or if not that then about how to search for work.

Enterprise Clubs are really useful for people wanting to start up their own business or become self-employed. Here you will not only have access to others that are in the same position, but you may find someone whose business will benefit your own. For example someone who wants to go into business offering their services to do ironing will benefit greatly by knowing someone who is starting either a laundry business or a home help business. Or even just someone who anticipates being too busy with their new idea to be able to do their own ironing! At these clubs or the interviews introducing you to them you may also find out about the New Enterprise Allowance. This is a scheme for people who have been unemployed for over 6 months that are contemplating starting their own business. You can get both financial and practical assistance with this scheme.

Another route you can go down whilst looking for work is a Sector-Based Work Academy. This is an experience in which you will do training for a job in a particular area, volunteer to do some work in that particular job and then attend a guaranteed interview in some part of that field of work - most often in the place that you volunteered. This means that you get training and experience at a particular type of employment while you are still on benefits (therefore the employer does not have to train you at their expense) but you have a far greater chance of getting the job at the end of the process.

If all of this is not working, or if you have found a new job but you are not sure about whether you will be able to keep it you will eventually be invited to an interview to ask you to volunteer in a Work Programme. This is a more intensive experience that will help you with every aspect of your hunt for work or your experience in your new job. Some people will be expected to join the Work Programme at a certain time in the job seeking experience, but if you want to be part of it, you can volunteer to join it at any time. There are even more opportunities for training, experience and advice on the Work Programme than in all the other schemes available.

Gaining Experience

Finally, one of the worst problems about getting a new job when you are young is getting the experience required to do the job. Jobcentre Plus offers a scheme called Youth Contract, which is for people ages 18 to 24 years to help them gain training and experience in their chosen field of work. Here you get help to volunteer at a place that would give you experience and Careers advice on a national level in case moving to get a particular job is an option for you. They can help you find jobs that let you have day release to college so that you can train and gain better qualifications whilst still getting the experience of being in the work place and they give you support from your advisor that is specific to your needs and circumstances. There is even a benefit to employers that give jobs to youngsters on this scheme as they get some money for their company if they employ you while you are under the scheme, using the rules of the scheme so it is an all win situation. If you are a young person leaving college and looking for work the Youth Contract is an ideal place to start.