More than 2,000 in Oban claim Universal Credit prior to Christmas

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More than 6,000 people in Argyll and Bute were claiming Universal Credit as of mid-November 2020, a report has revealed.

The document by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also details the help which is at hand for people seeking employment in the area.

According to the report, a total of 2,059 people were claiming Universal Credit via the Oban Job Centre as at November 12, while 1,327 were doing so at the Helensburgh office. The Dunoon centre had 1,126 claimants while there were 956 at the office in Campbeltown, and 658 at the Rothesay headquarters.

A ‘Job Finding Support’ service has recently been started across the area, designed to help people who have recently become unemployed, while a ‘Job Entry: Targeted Support’ scheme was due to start from Monday, January 25.

The report is due to be discussed at a pre-agenda meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond Community Planning Group on Thursday, January 28.

It is also expected to be on the agenda for the three other community planning groups in the area, which are due to meet in February.

A DWP spokesperson said in the report: ‘Job Finding Support (JFS) is designed to help those who have recently become unemployed (up to 13 weeks), who may not need extensive support but would benefit from personalised support and advice to help them re-enter employment quickly and to improve the likelihood of securing sustainable paid employment.

‘JFS will help claimants to develop their job finding and job application skills, increasing their ability to quickly secure replacement employment.

‘Participants will be offered a minimum of four hours’ tailored digital support, plus at least one online group session. In most cases this will be completed within 10 working days and in all cases will be completed within 20 working days.

‘The service offered will include, but not be limited to, a mock interview, a digital online group session, help to identify transferable skills, sector specific job advice (particularly the growth sectors) and job matching to suitable vacancies and advice/links about suitable employers.

‘The primary objectives of Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) are to make support available to people who have been out of work and in receipt of benefit for at least 13 weeks, to help them gain paid employment, and maximise the opportunities to support people to find work.’

The JETS scheme is also intended to support participants to develop realistic job goals and career paths and ensure each participant receives tailored support to overcome barriers and secure employment.

It also aims to ensure providers work closely with employers, local partners and services to respond to key events or changes in the labour market.

A ‘Kickstart’ scheme is also providing funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.