If you are out-of-work, you may be required to go on a government employment scheme. However, they can also prove useful if you are looking to develop your skills.

Compulsory schemes

If you are receiving Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), you'll be expected to develop a Jobseeker's Agreement with your Jobcentre Plus personal advisor. After 13 weeks, you may be required to go on a job scheme. Failure to do so could mean you lose some of your benefit. Your benefit could also be cut if you agree to a scheme and then fail to complete it.

Compulsory schemes are designed to provide support and guidance to individuals who are actively seeking employment. These schemes aim to enhance your employability skills, improve your job prospects, and ultimately help you secure sustainable employment. By participating in these schemes, you can gain valuable work experience, develop transferable skills, and demonstrate your commitment to finding work.

Training schemes

If you are aged between 16 and 18, there are a variety of schemes that you may be able to go on. If you are under 18, it's unlikely you'll be entitled to benefits without completing one of these schemes.

Training schemes offer a range of opportunities for individuals to acquire new skills and qualifications. Whether through apprenticeship programs, vocational training, or preparatory courses, these schemes provide a structured pathway for personal and professional development. They enable you to gain practical experience in your chosen field and enhance your knowledge and expertise, making you more attractive to potential employers.

  • Apprenticeship programmes
  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) training in England
  • Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Scotland
  • Entry to employment (e2e) in England
  • Get Ready for Work Programme in Scotland
  • preparatory training
  • the right to time off for study or training
  • Skillseekers in Scotland

These schemes, known as Work Based Learning, allow you to gain qualifications while in employment. The programmes vary in length, and can be full-time or part-time. The only stipulation is that you should be able to receive a NVQ level 2 (or equivalent) qualification during your scheme.

New Deal

If you are aged 18-24 and have been claiming JSA for at least six months, you'll be required to participate in the New Deal scheme. You may be able to get involved early, depending on your circumstances.

The New Deal scheme provides tailored support and opportunities for young jobseekers. It aims to address the specific challenges faced by this age group and help them overcome barriers to employment. The scheme begins with a Gateway period, where you receive intensive assistance and guidance in your job search. Following the Gateway, you'll have various options to choose from:

  • You could be employed by a New Deal employer, who will receive a subsidy for taking you on. You will come off benefit and should be paid a wage and given training. The subsidy lasts for six months but you may be kept on after this.
  • You could go into full-time education and/or training for up to twelve months. You will receive an allowance equivalent to your JSA.
  • You might be placed with the 'environment task force' or with a voluntary sector organisation. You will receive either a wage or an allowance equivalent to your JSA and will be given training.
  • In some circumstances, you might be supported to undertake self-employment.

These options provide you with diverse pathways to gain valuable experience, acquire new skills, and increase your chances of securing sustainable employment. By actively participating in the New Deal scheme, you demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional growth, making you a more attractive candidate for potential employers.

Work trials

If you are on the New Deal scheme, you can take part in a work trial where they are available. This allows you to work in a particular job for up to 30 days while remaining on benefits, and allows an employer to try working with someone who has been unemployed before deciding whether to take them on permanently. Therefore a work trial has to be a full-time job and lead to a permanent role that will last at least six months.

Work trials provide a valuable opportunity for individuals to showcase their skills and capabilities to potential employers. These trials allow you to gain practical experience in a specific role, demonstrating your suitability for the position. By participating in a work trial, you can prove your abilities, build professional connections, and increase your chances of securing a permanent job.

At the end of your work trial, you may be offered the job. If you turn it down, you won't have your benefits penalised. If you aren't offered a job, your Jobcentre Plus personal advisor may ask for feedback from your employer to help you continue with your search for work.

New Deal for Partners

If you are aged 18-24, you don't have children but your partner has been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (or similar benefit) for six months or more, you could attend the New Deal scheme voluntarily.

Although your benefit is not affected if you don't attend the scheme, you may be required to register as a couple claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. If that is the case, you'll both be required to undertake the New Deal scheme. This provides an opportunity for both partners to enhance their employability skills, explore new career options, and increase their chances of finding work.

New Deal for Lone Parents

If you are claiming Income Support and have a child under school-leaving age, you'll be invited into a Jobcentre Plus office and given help on finding work, training, and childcare. If you are not working, or working less than 16 hours a week, but not claiming benefits, you can also take part on request.

The New Deal for Lone Parents recognizes the unique challenges faced by single parents and offers tailored support to help them overcome these obstacles. By providing assistance in finding work, access to training opportunities, and support with childcare arrangements, this scheme aims to empower lone parents to achieve financial independence and build a better future for themselves and their children.

New Deal for Disabled People

You can also undertake New Deal if you are on benefits due to a disability. This is a voluntary scheme, but advisors can help you find suitable vacancies. You'll also have access to a national network of Job Brokers who work specifically to help disabled people find work.

The New Deal for Disabled People aims to create inclusive employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. By offering specialized support, tailored training, and access to a network of job brokers, this scheme helps disabled individuals overcome barriers to employment and find fulfilling work. It recognizes the unique skills and abilities of disabled individuals and aims to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.