Headlines: December 22nd, 2014

More people are finding jobs through the government’s flagship back-to-work scheme, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.

DWP figures show that the Work Programme is exceeding performance expectations for JSA jobseekers. This reflects a recent NAO report which found that the Work Programme is supporting people into employment at the same rate as previous programmes. The report also predicted that performance of the programme is expected to continue to rise.

The figures reveal that 639,000 individual jobseekers have now entered employment via the Work Programme from its inception in June 2011 to end September 2014. This compares to 595,000 people at end June 2014. In addition 160,000 young people have now found at least one job on the Work Programme, up from 151,000 three months before.

Overall, 32,319 jobseekers on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have now gained work though the programme. Many of these jobseekers have complex barriers to work and will have been out of work for a significant period of time.

The Work Programme was launched in June 2011 and involves private and voluntary sector organisations being paid according to their success in helping the long-term unemployed back into work. The Programme provides personalised support for claimants who need more help looking for and staying in work. Service providers have freedom to decide how best to support Work participants while meeting minimum standards for delivering the service.

Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association, the representative body for the employment support sector, said: “The falling unemployment figures are a testament to the hard work and dedication of jobseekers and the range of organisations that support them. The Work Programme has now supported nearly 640,000 jobseekers into work and 368,000 to sustain that employment. This can be life changing for people and their families.”