Press release

Welfare reforms boost skills training by 40%

Welfare reforms have boosted the number of benefit claimants training to improve their skills by almost 40%.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Government welfare reforms have boosted the number of benefit claimants training to improve their skills by almost 40%, according to new figures released.

Business-backed local skills training schemes, called sector-based work academies, and mandatory skills referrals by Jobcentre Plus have contributed to the number of benefit claimants in England starting training going up by 39.1% in a year from 464,400 (2011 to 2012) to 645,800 (2012 to 2013).

Minister for Employment Esther McVey said:

Employment is going up, unemployment is coming down and it is great news that those who are looking for work are boosting their skills. It will help them to get a job and progress in their careers.

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, our frontline staff in the 700 Jobcentres up and down the country are working with jobseekers so they have the right skills for their local jobs economy. It’s a testament to advisers working together with employers and claimants to boost skills and employability that we’ve seen such large rise in those starting training.

Minister for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock said:

It is encouraging to see that the number of benefit claimants engaging with further education and training has increased. Through further education and training, claimants can develop the skills employers want, helping them to move off benefits and in to a job. We are committed to helping everyone fulfil their potential and begin a prosperous and productive career.

The number of Jobseeker’s Allowance benefit spells which involved training increased by 43% from 342,800 to 488,400 between 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013. The proportion of all Jobseeker’s Allowance benefit spells which involved training was 13.1% over the 2012 to 2013 academic year, an increase from 8.9% in 2011 to 2012.

Sector-based work academies are set up in consultation between local employers and Jobcentre Plus and they provide pre-employment training, a work experience placement for up to 6 weeks and a guaranteed job interview for claimants.

Claimants on Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance (who aren’t considered fit for work and placed in the Work Related Activity Group) can be referred for mandatory Skills Conditionality which is when claimants undertake activity to address an identified skills need which will aid their movement into work.

The further education statistics contain information on training started by benefit claimants between August 2009 and July 2013.

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Published 26 June 2014