Mersey claimant count up but jobs are available

As the number of people claiming Universal Credit rises in the Liverpool city region amid the COVID-19 crisis, Jobcentre Plus says a number of sector are still hiring. Tony McDonough reports

forklift, factory, warehouse, business, manufacturing
The Liverpool city region logistics sector is still looking for workers


Jobcentre Plus in Merseyside is urging anyone who has seen their job affected by the COVID-19 crisis to get in touch and access a range of support – stressing that jobs are available in a number of sectors.

The call comes as the latest unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics show a rise in the UK’s unemployment rate, from 4.5% to 4.8% in the three months to September. Redundancies hit a record high of 314,000 in the same period.

Latest data for the Liverpool city region shows that as of October 8, there were 169,423 people in Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton, in receipt of Universal Credit – a rise over just 1.4% from 167,017 in September.

Knowsley saw the biggest percentage rise in UC claimants, up 1.81% to 18,808; followed by Liverpool, up 1.79% to 58,499; Sefton, up 1.49% to 26,684; Wirral, up 1.27% to 30,980; St Helens, up 0.8% to 18,080; and Halton, up 0.75% to 16,372.

Gemma Batchelor, senior relationship manager for Jobcentre Plus in Merseyside said there were a number of options available for people who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.

She explained: “We want people in Merseyside who have been affected by the latest restrictions to know that Jobcentre Plus and our network of Work Coaches are here to support them if their job has been affected.

“We encourage everyone who has had their income affected to check their eligibility for Universal Credit or other benefits and to seek help if they need to find another job.  There is so much support available, from our new Job Finding Support contracts for people who are newly employed, to JETs (Job Entry Targeted Support) for people who have been unemployed for three months or more.

“Thousands of Merseyside employers have pledged job opportunities through the Kickstart scheme for young people and we expect these vacancies to be advertised in the coming months.

“Many sectors of the labour market are still buoyant including health and social care, construction and logistics and we can help with retraining and reskilling if you would like to consider something new.”

Different scheme include:

Kickstart Scheme: A Government-funded programme to create six-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.

Job Finding Support Programme: DWP is working with a provider to assist new claimants (0-13 weeks of their claim) back into work. It is focused on job-ready people with employment skills and experience, who may need additional support to quickly transition into sustainable employment.

Mentoring Circles: A programme connecting and engaging with employers who can give up their time to mentor people to help them understand and navigate through applications and interviews.

Local recruitment: Jobcentre Plus works with local employers to promote its Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP) and within the next couple of weeks will be launching new SWAPs for cleaning operatives for construction sites and another manufacturing concrete and wooden fence products.

For more information on current job vacancies click here. If you are an employer looking for assistance to fill vacancies click here. You can follow Jobcentre Plus Merseyside on Twitter @JCPinMerseyside

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