Jobcentre Plus – tailored services from the DWP

As reported in recent BHBPA Newsletters, we are liaising with, among others, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to ensure members are kept informed of services available during the period after the Government’s furlough scheme runs down. Here’s a message from the local Work Services Directorate at the DWP.


Our network of local Employer Advisers can provide a tailored service to find the right people for your jobs and support your local community. Your Employer Adviser will work with you to design a bespoke package to meet your recruitment needs, including:

  • providing access to pre-employment training for our customers to give you a skilled workforce for your business
  • providing work experience opportunities to help people gain experience to compete successfully in the local labour market
  • offering a work trial for potential employees to ensure they are suited to that type of role and your company

In addition we can offer more support to employers who are committed to creating opportunities for people who need extra help to succeed in the labour market.

If you would like further information please contact your local Employer Adviser, Mike Tran:


A work trial is a short period in work you can offer to a jobseeker on benefits. It’s a way for you both to see if the job is a good fit.

It happens after you’ve interviewed them for a specific role. If they’re not suitable for it, you do not need to offer it to them.

Jobseekers volunteer for a work trial. They keep getting their benefits whilst they’re on it and are not paid a wage.

Eligibility – the work trial must:

  • only be used as a way for you and the potential employee to decide if they’re right for the role
  • be for a job where the jobseeker is the only person you’re considering hiring
  • be for a job which is at least 16 hours a week for at least 13 weeks

You need to agree the length of the work trial with the jobseeker before it starts. It must:

  • end when you’re sure about whether the jobseeker is suitable for the role
  • last no more than 5 days if the job is for less than 6 months
  • last no more than 30 days (and usually around 5 days) for jobs lasting 6 months or more


If you are a business and interested in supporting young people who are looking for work, you can offer work experience through Jobcentre Plus.  Who is eligible?

  • young people who are aged 18 to 24 years old
  • people aged 25 and over who don’t have recent work history

For some young people a lack of understanding of the working world is a significant barrier to finding and sustaining employment. Jobcentre Plus wants to work with you to offer young jobseekers the opportunity to overcome this barrier through work experience placements.

The chance to undertake real work and adjust to the routines and habits of working life can significantly improve their employment prospects.

Offering work experience to a much wider age group can also be highly effective in supporting people to find employment, especially if they have been away from work for some time. It can develop or re-fresh their skills and help them gain confidence, supporting them to move closer to employment. Older participants may well bring a range of skills that can positively contribute to your business.

Why you should get involved

By helping young people to gain work experience, your business can reap real benefits, such as:

  • developing the supervisory and management skills of your current workforce
  • enhancing your public profile by supporting your local community
  • accessing a pool of hidden talent – people who offer enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to your business
  • promoting workforce diversity

There is a strong social case too. We know that an extended period of unemployment, if experienced at an early age, can affect future employment prospects and lead to disadvantages, such as ill-health and poverty.

The cost to society of this, both financially and socially, is huge. It is vital that government, business and voluntary and community sector organisations work together to support young people.

We must especially support those struggling to make the transition from school to work, to prepare for, find and sustain employment.

How it works

Work experience through Jobcentre Plus will enable young, unemployed people (or other age groups) to volunteer for placements lasting between 2 and 8 weeks, or longer (up to 3 months) for some young people. These volunteers will be matched with suitable host employers and complete a light touch selection process.

We’ll continue to pay participants’ benefits and will also cover the costs of travel and childcare if necessary. Hosts do not pay participants and doing so might affect their benefit entitlement.

Young people who have spent up to 8 weeks in a work experience opportunity can have their placement extended by up to 4 weeks where an employer makes an offer to take them on to an apprenticeship.


  • Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the  mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth.
  • Rather than offer mentoring on a 121 basis mentoring circles give mentees an opportunity to share their  experiences, barriers and challenges they face. The opportunity to share their challenges in a group with other young people made the jobseeker feel they were not on their own.
  • The mentoring circle model comprises of three mentoring circle meetings over three weeks where employers lead the sessions and share insight and information. Each session covers a different aspect of employability skills with the last session taking place where possible on employer premises.
  • Mentors share their experience and provide guidance to the mentees. The total commitment from mentors and mentees is that of 6 hours. Each mentoring session is 2 hours long.

Alison Barrett 

Partnership Manager: Gatwick Diamond | Work Services Directorate | Department for Work and Pensions | Epsom JCP| 50 East Street| Epsom| Surrey| KT19 1HQ |  Phone 01372 853368 | Internal 3368 |Mobile 07825 532286 | follow us @JCPinSurrey or @JCPinSussex on Twitter |


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