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Our innovative support for young jobseekers recognised

3 Feb 2023

Reed in Partnership are proud to have been awarded an Innovation Award by the Department for Work & Pensions for providing specialist employment support to young people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of our delivery of the DWP’s JETS service in the North East we identified and addressed the additional job-seeking needs of people aged 18 to 24 years-olds.

Young people in the UK were the most significantly affected by the pandemic, with the employment rate of people aged 16 to 24 declining the most compared with other age groups and more young people became economically inactive during the first five months of the pandemic compared to the same period in 2019.

The JETS programme was launched in October 2020 and began to quickly identify and provide solutions for the ongoing and evolving challenges for jobseekers during the pandemic restrictions and economic changes.

In order to help mitigate the end of the government’s bespoke Kickstart Scheme for young people at the start of 2022 our JETS team in South Yorkshire set about creating a bespoke offer for 18 to 24 year-olds called JET Start. This package drew on research and our understanding of the particular needs of young jobseekers, including ensuring participation, overcoming employment barriers such as a lack of experience, lack of money for travel and interview clothes and help with confidence and mental wellbeing. The success of the approach in South Yorkshire saw the offer extended to the whole of the North East region.

At a recent DWP event this work was recognised with the Innovation Award for helping achieve greater participation and improved outcomes for young jobseekers.

One young person who benefited from JETS was Abbie. She joined the service knowing that she wanted to go into childcare and started the Level 2 Childcare Apprenticeship, however she had to stop unexpectedly to look after her mum. When the pandemic hit she found it hard to find any job.

She wanted to start working in adult social care but didn’t know where to start and felt she had lost confidence after stopping her apprenticeship. She signed up for Universal Credit and that is when her Jobcentre referred her to JETS.

Abbie was supported by doing mock interviews to build her technique as she hadn’t had an interview before and did not feel confident. She had regular calls with her Employment Adviser, Baff, where they worked on her interview techniques, CV development and building her self-belief.

With Baff’s help, Abbie secured a new role as a Trainee Care Support Worker at a local hospital where she is working shifts on the wards.

Abbie said:

“I can’t express my appreciation enough for the JETS service. The constant support and reassurance have been amazing! Right from my first phone call with Baff to our last call, he always offered me support where it was needed, helped me build the confidence to attend online interviews and overall helped me achieve my dream career.”

Chris Paterson, Programme Director for the JETS programme at Reed in Partnership, said:

“We are incredibly proud to have our support for young people celebrated by DWP and, particularly, that it was the innovative nature of our work that saw us recognised.

“The circumstances presented by the pandemic meant that new and novel solutions to evolving employment needs were always required. The dedication and talent of our teams, our commitment to continuous improvement and our collaborative approach with local specialist support were all key to providing jobseekers with the very best possible support from JETS during their time with us.”