Recruitment drive launches to get the West Midlands back into work

Coventry skyline

Hundreds of work coaches are being recruited to boost employment in the West Midlands as part of a new package of support focused on training and reskilling jobseekers, and getting the region back to work.

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Work and Pensions are joining forces to match jobseekers with vacancies, ensuring they have the skills to meet local demand as businesses reopen. Vacancies for 300 work coaches are due to go live over the coming days – with local people encouraged to apply for roles.

The new work coaches, part of a huge nationwide recruitment effort, will give claimants localised and tailored support to help them move towards and into work, with services delivered through jobcentres and outreach activities, at the heart of local communities. The WMCA will be using its £130 million training budget to make sure that local people have the skills needed to secure new roles.

The DWP and the Combined Authority will allocate up to £4 million through the Flexible Support Fund, to help overcome barriers that may prevent people from returning to work quickly.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This announcement builds on the already great work going on across our jobcentres across the West Midlands, which are helping to support our unemployed get back into work.”

As part of the West Midlands offer, six Youth Hubs will be set up in local areas, , helping to join up local employment and training services and make sure that these are targeting young people.

The scheme follows the roll out of Youth Employability Advisers across the region’s jobcentres to help young people tackle barriers to employment by building their skills and qualifications.

With more than 2.5 million claims for Universal Credit processed since mid-March across the country, the Department is shifting its focus to getting Britain working again, with jobcentres gradually and safely set to see more people face to face.

Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio lead for skills and productivity and head of Coventry City Council said: “Many people, especially young people, have been affected by the economic impact of the pandemic, working in sectors that have been badly hit. Introducing work coaches will not only create more jobs it will help to get more people back into work.”

The announcement follows the Prime Minister’s speech earlier this week setting out the Government’s commitment to levelling up the UK as parts of the hospitality sector reopen.