New package of support to help over 50s jobseekers back into work

The government has announced millions of pounds of new measures to tackle unemployment amongst the over 50s on benefits.

  • New measures set to help quarter of all jobseekers get back into work
  • Multi-million package will increase jobcentre support for over 50s including those thinking about retirement
  • Long term unemployed will be referred to the multi-billion-pound Restart Scheme which is already supporting a quarter of a million back into work

The new support follows ministers meeting their target to get half a million people into work in under six months, as part of the Way to Work jobs push launched in January.

Keeping up the momentum, £22 million will be invested in new measures to tackle unemployment amongst the over 50s on benefits, as a stable income is the best route for people to support themselves through challenging times.

Jobseekers over the age of 50 will have more one-to-one support at jobcentres to help them get into, and progress in work, boosting their earnings ahead of retirement.

This increased support will be boosted by 37 50PLUS Champions covering every district across England, Wales and Scotland who will work with local employers to help them realise how their recruitment could benefit from the talent of older workers.

Mid-life MOTs will also be available in jobcentres, targeting those thinking about retirement and engaging them to take stock of their skills and finances, and consider taking jobs that could boost their incomes based on their skills experience.

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP said:

Older workers are a huge asset to this country, and there are currently more than 400,000 over 50s in roles than before the pandemic.

We’re increasing funding and support at every step of their journey up the career ladder, to ensure everyone gets the support they need to get into work, progress and use their experience to boost their earnings and plan for a better future. Helping people find the security of a stable income, through a job they can take pride in, is also one of the best ways for people to support their families during these challenging times.

Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

Seeing DWP continue to recognise the importance of a bespoke approach to older workers is really welcome.

We know that older workers face unique challenges, such as ageism in the workplace and a possible gap in skills compared to some of their younger counterparts, so we will gladly support any tailored action that begins chip away at these significant roadblocks standing in the way of older people accessing fulfilling work.

Research shows that people over 50 are more likely to have caring responsibilities, with 12% of men and 16% of women aged 55-64 providing informal care and increased support from Work Coaches will help them navigate these barriers.

With the economy back on its feet, and the demand for experienced staff, the advice will help older workers make the right choice for them. And for those who have been out of work for nine months, the government’s Restart Scheme will provide a year of intensive support to get them back on the career ladder.

One year since its launch, the Restart Scheme is already seeing the first jobseekers take up work and leave the scheme and is currently supporting a quarter of a million people get the skills they need to re-enter the workforce.

This is part of the government’s renewed focus on growing the economy and helping people find work and boost their earnings.

Further information: 

ERSA has a forum dedicated to the 50 plus agenda. Formed to bring all organisations interested in policy, delivery and campaigning to support the ageing workforce. In joint partnership with ERSA and the Centre for Ageing Better.


GC Employment launches Working in Health and Social Care guide

To coincide with Employability Day, 17 June, The Growth Company have launched a new Working in Health and Social Care brochure to help people interested in working in this sector. 

Would you like to work in a job role where you have the capacity to change lives for the better?

GC Employment has launched our Working in Health and Social Care brochure. In the Health and Social Care sector, you can work in a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same. Over 1.6 million people are employed within the sector with an additional 500,000 jobs, in over 80 different roles, to become available by 2030.

Our working brochure will cover how to get started, what training and qualifications you’ll need (and how to get them), job progression opportunities, and how to ‘step up’ into a senior role.

Download the brochure here

Employability Day (Friday 17th June) is an opportunity for employment support organisations and employers to celebrate their hard work in supporting people to enter/progress in employment. This blog looks at our Sales Team, and how they’ve been filling vacancies within the team and our partners.

Step into Work

Colin, one of our participants on the Restart Scheme, was booked in by his advisor Rayna to meet EEC’s Amy and Seb at our ‘Step into Work’ Eccles centre, for a face-to-face meeting aiming to support Colin in finding the right job opportunity. After their meeting with Colin, Amy and Seb recognised that he would make a great asset to the GC family within the EEC team. After passing his CV onto HR, Colin was quickly interviewed by Fern and Ronnie who agreed he was the right fit for this role within the team. Colin has been with GC for over month now and has settled in easily, building relationships with colleagues, finding suitable employers, and securing interviews for the caseloads the team supports. If you have customers like Colin who are ready to progress into employment, book them into a meeting with the Step into Work team.

Employer Spotlight

Carlisle Support Services have been working with GC Employment for over 10 years now, supporting hundreds of candidates into sustainable employment opportunities through regular and varied activities hosted at Lee House. Carlisle recruit Revenue Protection, Revenue Enforcement Officers and Security Officers to work across Greater Manchester train stations. The role of their staff is to provide a highly visible presence at locations, supporting strategies aimed at reducing tickles travel by ensuring customers possess valid tickets. Currently, they are recruiting a large volume of roles an are looking for people who have good communication skills and are well presented. Candidates do not need to have any previous experience, as full training will be provided. Click here to find out more about what it’s like to work for Carlisle Support Services.

United for Ukraine

United for Ukraine is a support initiative which aims to help Ukrainian refugees by finding sustainable employment alongside other support, The Tourism & Hospitality Talent hub have been working closely with various employers from the sector to create suitable job opportunities and working environments for the people accessing the service. The Lowry Hotel, an employer GC Employment have worked with for several years, has successfully supported a refugee into employment with the assistance of Margaret Bartnikiewicz and Marianna Vaszilyiv. The Lowry Hotel are an excellent, supportive employer in Salford – they are keen to engage with a diverse range of talent and work hard to retain that talent through support and further training. If you have a customer looking for roles within Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism please speak to your local EEC.

If you’re an employer looking at recruiting for your team, please get in touch with us at

New event responds to homelessness and vulnerable housing crisis

Secure Homes and Work – supported by Cognisoft

To watch this event on demand and see the latest events and information visit our forum page. 

Responses to homelessness and vulnerable housing, getting people good jobs that ensure secure housing.
Wednesday 29 June 2022, 10am – 12.30pm

On 29 June, 10am – 12.30pm, please join us for a free online event for all employment support providers focussing on responses to homelessness and vulnerable housing, getting people good jobs that ensure secure housing.

This event will include information for providers of Restart, Work and Health Programme. JETS, ESF funded provision, devolved commissioned programmes, Community Renewal Fund and your local delivery.

Hosted by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA).

With expert speakers drawing on their experience of what works:

  • Homelessness services and pathways. What are the needs around employment support? – Adam Rees, Service Director, St Mungo’s
  • What works? The evidence around homelessness and employment. Nick Bartholdy, Evidence & Data Specialist, Centre for Homelessness Impact
  • Piloting IPS in Homelessness Services – Amy Kimbangi, Senior Service Manager, St Mungo’s
  • Employers committing to recruitment and in work support
  • Provider examples 
  • Lessons we can learn
  • Building a community of good practice

Register in advance and join us on teams on 29 June at 10am. 

Way to Work: “Any job now” is no solution to UK labour crisis

Elizabeth Taylor, ERSA’s CEO writes exclusively for FE News. 

As the DWP announces its Way to Work campaign – its first major employability push for 2022 – the headlines herald half a million people into work by the summer, underlaid with the threat of potential benefit sanctions for Universal Credit recipients.

The campaign hinges on jobseekers taking a job, “any job” according to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, after just four weeks, rather than the three months currently allowed for searching within their chosen field.

If people are capable of jobs in other sectors but do not actively participate, or accept said roles, their benefit payment may be cut.

I find this move deeply disturbing and a huge step back from the people-centred methodologies that the employability industry has successfully fought to extol to commissioners in recent years.

One-size-doesn’t-fit-all. Individually tailored support which meets personal and local labour market needs must remain front and centre of any quality employability provision.


While the media lists a handful of large employers that back the Way to Work initiative, I don’t believe that coercion and sanctions of this kind will ultimately meet employers’ needs.

Through ERSA’s employer engagement work, we consistently hear that employers want a job match, not a conscripted workforce. They want people with a genuine interest in their roles, with the right motivation, ambition, and skills to become a valued, long-term member of staff.

Quality employment support providers understand their locality’s job landscape, the employers with vacancies and their requirements. They’re also realists, looking where the opportunities exist and searching for that not-always-obvious right fit. Employability professionals are specifically trained to exploit any transferrable skills a jobseeker may have and encourage a wider sphere of job searching than a candidate may at first consider relevant.

The pandemic response Job Entry Targeted Support programme, JETS, is a case in point. Tasked with getting people back into work quickly – a phrase being repeated by DWP for the Way to Work campaign – JETS shows what the employment support sector can achieve when people are referred from Jobcentre Plus to their offers.

Importantly, JETS is incentivised to support people into SUSTAINED employment, and I’ve seen countless good news stories of people successfully re-entering the workforce of their choice, or switching to embark on entirely new careers suited to their skills, with no coercion required.

However, what JETS also indicates is that those people with the skills and motivation to flex are already doing so, and are likely to be jobseekers with some form of recent work experience.

Way to Work is predominantly targeted to those in the intensive work search group on Universal Credit and I echo Stephen Evans’s comments from the Learning and Work Institute who said:

“People who’ve recently lost their jobs are the most likely to find work quickly. To tackle current labour shortages, we need a more ambitious plan for people who have left the labour market, with support increasing the longer someone is out of work.”


Way to Work promises jobseekers more face-to-face time with their Jobcentre Plus work coach. Yet two ongoing issues could well render this a moot point.

JCP work coaches – thousands of which have been newly recruited through the pandemic – face an unenviable barrage of jobseekers with differing barriers to employment; a record number of vacancies to fill; and an often bureaucratic referral system to a complex range of national and local support providers.

With the clock now ticking faster thanks to Way to Work can we really expect them to offer genuinely tailored support each and every time?

That is of course assuming people visit Jobcentre Plus. The lack of candidates for vacancies is already impacted by the participation challenge, notably people choosing not to engage with their Jobcentre Plus advisor. This is particularly evident with people over 50 who are choosing not to return to work and to live on savings or to take pensions early. There is a real danger that there will be no incentive for certain demographics of people to engage with Jobcentre Plus now.

And for those engaging with a work coach, can willingness to participate really be enhanced by sanctions? The government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, has in the past found no evidence that benefit sanctions work, concluding that they were as likely to force people to stop claiming benefits without getting a job as they were to get them into employment.


Since the 1980s, European-funded provision has prioritised people disconnected from the labour market; those not proactively accessing Jobcentre Plus. These vital programmes help some of the most disadvantaged people in society, removing barriers to employment and training, getting their working lives back on track.

As we continue to wait for firmer details of its successor, the UK’s Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), the record number of unfilled vacancies makes a strong case for community-based, outsourced provision.

I firmly believe the long delayed UKSPF is the way to get vacancies filled, developing people from all walks of life for local vacancies they can sustain, to bring economic independence to them and their families.


In an ever evolving world, catapulted but not solely driven by the pandemic, the need to align education and skills provision at every level with the needs of the current and future economy is vital.

As reported by the House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee urgent action is needed to not only address the UK’s youth unemployment rate, but to reform our school system, further education and vocational programmes to futureproof our young people.

Action now could avoid the labour market crisis being a cause for concern for future generations of employers and individuals.

In conclusion, while I concede that there is some merit in work for work’s sake – we all know it’s good for us in many ways – I think this new push is a dangerous initiative that disregards the evidence and experience of employers, the NAO, and the employability industry at large.

This is not a solution to the UK’s long term labour market crisis, which needs adequate funding, coordination and expertise to support people’s aspirations to work in quality jobs with long term futures.

Roundup of DWP’s Budget Announcement

On 27 October, the Chancellor delivered the Autumn Budget and Spending Review for 2021, setting out how we will level up opportunities as we build back better from the pandemic.
Here are some key points of interest:

Cut to the Universal Credit taper rate, and Universal Credit Work Allowance increased

The taper rate means that if people increase their earnings, by working more hours for example, their Universal Credit is gradually reduced. The current taper rate is 63p, meaning for every £1 a person earns after tax, their Universal Credit is reduced by 63p.

The Chancellor announced that the Government is cutting the taper rate by 8p, from 63p to 55p, ensuring more money in people’s pockets.

The Work Allowance allows some households to earn a set amount before the taper rate kicks in. This is generally for households on Universal Credit who are in work and either looking after a child or have a household member with limited capability for work.

Work Allowances are currently set at £293 a month if the household receives housing support, or £515 if they do not receive housing support. These are both being increased by £500 per year.

Both of these changes will be implemented from December 2021, and together will benefit 1.9 million households who will on average keep around an extra £1,000 a year. The changes apply across Great Britain, and the Northern Ireland Executive will be funded to match them.

If you provide benefits advice or offer benefit calculators on your website, we encourage you to update your advice by 1 December to reflect these changes.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), worth over £2.6 billion, will give funding to local areas to help people get better skills and to get on in life. The fund will help people access opportunity in places in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities.

The first priority for the UKSPF will be boosting skills through a locally-delivered new adult numeracy programme called Multiply. This will receive £560m between 2021-24 to help hundreds of thousands of adults across the UK improve their maths. It will also support a wider range of local priority programmes.

The UKSPF will at a minimum match the size of EU Funds received previously in all nations, each year. The Government will also match current EU funding levels in Cornwall.

Further details will be set out later this year.

Supporting disabled people into work

To support disabled people into work, the Government confirmed as part of the Spending Review that it is providing specialised disability employment support worth over £1.1bn over the next three years, including an additional £156m over the SR period for health and disability support with a focus on additional work coaches.

This is alongside the Work and Health Programme which will continue to provide personal support to disabled people to find jobs that match their employment and health needs, and the Access to Work scheme which will continue to help cover the costs of workplace adaptations, special equipment and travel.

Helping people into work and making work pay

The Government is increasing the National Living Wage from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 per hour from April 2022 for over 23s.

The Government will also continue supporting people into work with over £6 billion of funding for DWP over the next three years to help people earn more and gain the right skills. There will be targeted additional support for groups needing extra help to get into work and progress. This includes the following:

  • workers who have left the furlough scheme and are making a UC claim who will be prioritised through the Job Finding Support scheme. They will receive online, tailored, one-to-one support, recruitment advice from a skilled adviser, support with CVs and a mock interview.
  • older workers – those over 50 – will benefit from additional support, including better information and guidance on later life planning, and help to plan their career and remain in work. For those who have lost their jobs, this funding will ensure that older job seekers on Universal Credit receive more intensive, tailored support.

Employment Support for unemployed and economically inactive people in Sheffield – Universal Project and Specialist Health Project

Sheffield City Council is seeking a range of providers to deliver employment support for people who are unemployed or economically inactive residents of Sheffield.

Participants will likely have barriers to entering employment, training or education to achieve their goals. The core project (lot 1) will support the widest scope of people, the specialist health project (lot 2) will focus on participants who have physical disability, learning disability or mental health needs.

The project is part funded by the European Social Fund.

Contract Value: £238K – 238K
Notice Type: Contract (UK-LV)
Published Date: 06 October 2021
Closing Date: 22 October 2021
Start Date: 01 December 2021
End Date: 31 March 202

The opportunity can be found at;

Our 8 core messages for the Kickstart Scheme

8 core messages for the Kickstart Scheme


Our eight core messages for the Kickstart Scheme

Download a PDF version here

This is a very significant – but one-off – intervention in the labour market.  It provides the opportunity to support the life chances of hundreds of thousands of young people who otherwise may be scarred by long-term unemployment, but also to drive forward a range of other government commitments – supporting local industrial strategies, delivering the aspiration of the 25 year environment plan and levelling up opportunity in left-behind areas.

Underpinning Kickstart with some core values and ensuring it incentivises job creation in the social, civic and SME sectors will ensure the investment works as hard as it can and helps to grow emerging markets which will help sustain the jobs created.  It will also minimize the risk of government funding short-term cheap labour or contributing to job displacement. 

Our eight core messages are as follows:

  1. jobs should not displace other jobs, they should add maximum social and environmental value to the Covid recovery, to communities as well as aligning or adding to wider strategic government, regional and local development aims – including supporting sectors that will need to transform the way they operate in light of the pandemic
  2. proactive steps should be taken at a local level to ensure those young people most in need of the ‘kickstart’ are able to access and benefit from the opportunity – who gets the opportunities is as important as creating the right opportunities
  3. priority should be on job creation in sectors that build community wealth, de-carbonise the economy, promote nature recovery, contribute to our longer-term health, housing, care and cultural and creative needs.  Innovative partnerships should be encouraged to help facilitate and lead in an area or sector
  4. good employer support will create scale, quality and aid retention of young employees – local coalitions of businesses supported by intermediaries will stimulate job creation, ambition for scale and retention
  5. young people will need support – their needs are varied and the support they need is often best served with quality wrap around provision; this needs to be built into the way funds are allocated.  It also helps when things go wrong, for example the employer unexpectedly makes redundancies, there must be the built-in ability to preserve the opportunity, to transfer a Kickstart job
  6. young people must have choice in the Kickstart jobs they apply for, they are not being ‘sent’ to a job, they are applying for a job and they are able to decide if the opportunity is right for them. Equally, the employer conducts a recruitment process that gives them choice about who they offer a job to.
  7. employers need to be supported to offer full time jobs; many young people who need the job the most can’t sustain themselves on 25 hours per week (childcare, rent, transport costs)
  8. proactive support will help prevent young people returning to benefits at 6 months; locally managed, onward progression to the next job or opportunity will raise retention levels (e.g. promotion, being taken on permanently, returning to education or training or an apprenticeship with the employer or another employer)

Kickstart should welcome and prioritise proposals that are coordinated locally or nationally to match the supply and demand between employers and young people, that help young people and employers access the support they need to make jobs accessible, rewarding and sustainable and that a provide a route to engage employers who might otherwise struggle to engage in sectors that need support now, and will be vital to the social, economic and environmental fabric of our country in the future.


Tracy Fishwick OBE, Managing Director, Transform Lives Company

Graham Duxbury, CEO, Groundwork UK

Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive, Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

Tony Wilson, Director, Institute of Employment Studies (IES)

Martin Bright, CEO, the Creative Society

Derri Burdon, CEO, Curious Minds

John Westby, Head of Funding Raising and Business Development, Clarion Housing

Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director, Communities that Work

Jasbir Jhas, Senior Adviser, Employment and Skills, Local Government Association (LGA)

Matt Browne, Advocacy Lead, Wildlife and Countryside Link

Erika Rushton, Creative Economist, Kindred

Mark Norbury, CEO, Unltd


No time to lose: Getting people into work quickly


We propose a new Into Work offer for all newly unemployed people and those facing redundancy. It will give immediate access to personalised and light-touch support so people can get back to work as quickly as possible. Without this, we are storing up problems with people likely to lose touch with the world of work the longer they remain unemployed.

Right now, unemployment is almost certainly above three million – and is likely to be the highest it has ever been, higher even than the Great Depression. There is likely to be a further spike in unemployment as the furlough scheme, covering more than 8.9 million workers, changes and unwinds by autumn 2020. This is a huge and unprecedented increase in unemployment.

We know that the longer someone is out of work, the more difficult it is for them to find work, requiring more expensive intervention.

Jobcentre Plus, rightly and successfully, focused on processing the huge rise in Universal Credit claims and is now refocusing on helping claimants find work. But we will need twice as many Work Coaches as we currently have in order to match the increase in unemployment, and that is before any further wave of unemployment as the furlough scheme is withdrawn.

We propose a £1 billion investment in Jobcentre Plus and skills and employment advice that will help get the country back to work. A new Into Work offer should be in place by August 2020 and will provide:

Support for everyone who needs advice to find new work:

  1. Everyone who is unemployed even if they are not claiming benefits
  2. Everyone who is at risk of redundancy or furloughed and unsure of the future
  3. Everyone who is self-employed and needs advice

A universal offer of:

  1. An initial personal session with an employment advisor
  2. Signposting to training, specialist support, and further advisor support
  3. Access to advice and tools for jobsearch and careers guidance

Invest in re-training and improving skills:

  1. New skills to help people change careers
  2. Re-training and upskilling to fill the new jobs that will be created
  3. Encourage people to invest in their own learning.

Delivering this ambitious agenda will rely on sound national and local partnerships in every part of the UK. A strong national framework combined with flexibility for local partners will mean that the offer can be up and running soon – and in a way that best works for local economies.

View the full joint report here

Joint organisations

Learning and Work Institute
Institute of Employment Studies
Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)
Youth Futures
Recruitment and Employment Consortium
Association of Colleges