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Positive response from parents looking to return to work

09 October 2015

Parents on Income Support, whose children were eligible for nursery and school places from 1 September, are working with staff from Back to Work to help them find paid employment. 

Changes in Income Support criteria relating to parents with children of school and pre-school age came into effect on 1 September. Previously, parents were required to seek work when their youngest child turned five. The expectation now is that parents will seek at least part time work from the start of the academic year in which their child turns four. This brings the timing in line with the date parents can apply for 20 hours per week of free States-funded nursery education.

By registering parents in line with the academic year rather than on the child’s birthday, the system treats all parents on Income Support fairly. It will also allow supportive employability training, tailored to the needs of parents with young children to be provided from September each year.

Tailored training and support

Over 220 parents fell into one of the above categories when the schools and nurseries started in September, resulting in a spike in September’s unemployment figures. These parents have now met with advisers from Back to Work and have identified areas where they would benefit from additional support and training. The response has been positive with some from this group already securing paid employment. The programme of support offered includes:

• an initial one on one assessment
• tailored training opportunities
• support to overcome barriers to work
• help with identifying goals
• advice on childcare options
• a personal mentor
• access to jobs club and support with CV writing

All of the above are offered during school hours.

Helen Nicole, a mother of one who first met with a Back to Work adviser last month, has been impressed by the support on offer. She said “I was unsure of what to expect and a bit nervous but I was appointed an adviser who immediately got me onto a course to help with interview skills. I’ve worked on my CV and had mock interviews, which has really helped. I’ve also got an IT course starting next week which I’m excited about – technology changes so fast, so this should bring me up to speed and prepare me for returning to work.”

Financial independence

The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel said “The training run by Back to Work ensures parents are supported in acquiring and refreshing the skills and confidence necessary to find work.  The aim is that when these parents are in a position to be able to work, and ultimately achieve financial independence, they are given the best chance possible.

“The need to balance childcare with work commitments is something we focus on in the training; for some, full time positions will be achievable but for others part time or flexible working hours may provide the solution. This is an extremely diverse group both in terms of experience and aspirations and I’d encourage employers to contact Back to Work to discuss any current or future roles they may have.”

Any employers wanting to find out more about the service provided by Back to Work or to discuss positions they may have should contact Back to Work on 447411.

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