Work Routes launches to support jobseekers

2 Oct 2023

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of unemployed people who are classified as ‘long-term sick’ is the highest it has been since records began.

The report shows that the number of people unemployed due to long-term sickness has greatly risen since the coronavirus pandemic - and is now quickly approaching 500,000. Long-term sickness accounts for around 28% of economic inactivity, making it the most common reason, with other reasons including being a student, a carer or retired.

In response to this rise, the Department for Work and Pensions has announced the launch of The Work and Health Programme Pioneer Support – named Work Routes in the North East of England – a new free service designed to support unemployed people who haven’t actively been seeking work.

Unemployed people joining Work Routes will be assigned an expert Employment Adviser alongside access to a wide range of support to help them find and start the right job for them. The free, personalised support on offer includes skills training sessions, health and wellbeing courses to aid individuals in overcoming any barriers they might be facing, and specific job search support to help participants reach their job goals.

The Work and Health Programme Pioneer Support forms a strand of phase one of the Universal Support programme, which is part of a £3.5 billion package of measures announced at the Spring Budget to get more people into work. £2 billion of this budget was set aside to target support towards disabled people and people with long-term health conditions who make up the largest economically inactive group.

Work Routes is delivered in the North East of England and South London by Reed in Partnership.

Director of Reed in Partnership’s Employability Division, Nick Morgan, said:

“Reed in Partnership has been supporting individuals to find sustainable employment for more than 25 years, with over 250,000 people having found work through one of our services.

“With our wealth of experience and expertise, we are confident that we can help you to start working. Our dedicated teams will work with you to identify your goal, then help you create a plan to reach it. Your Employment Adviser will be there to support you every step of the way.

“If you think you will benefit from free, personalised employment support - contact us today!”

To find out more about Work Routes, or sign up to the service, visit or call us on 0800 015 5332.