How to use Jobcentre Plus Services ?

Visiting the job centre can sometimes be frustrating - and the process of claiming benefits can be tedious to say the least - but don't despair. Let us help you find out how to survive signing on with our guide to Jobcentre Plus. People who are over the age of 18 and unemployed can apply for JSA.

How To Use Jobcentre Plus Services

If you are looking for work and want to use Jobcentre Plus services in the UK, here are some steps you can take:

  • Register: To use Jobcentre Plus services, you need to register with them. You can do this online or by phone. Once you have registered, you will be able to access a range of services and support.
  • Attend an interview: After you have registered, you will be asked to attend an interview with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. This interview will help the adviser to understand your skills and experience, and to provide advice and support tailored to your needs.
  • Search for jobs: You can search for job vacancies through the Jobcentre Plus website or in person at a local Jobcentre Plus office. You can also set up job alerts to receive notifications of new job vacancies that match your skills and experience.
  • Get advice and support: Jobcentre Plus offers a range of advice and support services to help you find work. This may include help with writing your CV, improving your interview skills, and finding training opportunities to develop your skills.
  • Apply for benefits: If you are out of work and on a low income, you may be eligible for benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit. Jobcentre Plus can help you to apply for these benefits and provide information on other financial support that may be available to you.
  • Attend workshops and events: Jobcentre Plus offers workshops and events that can help you to develop your skills and find work. These may include job fairs, training courses, and workshops on topics such as interview skills and job search strategies.

Remember, Jobcentre Plus services are designed to help you find work and provide support during the job search process. Be sure to take advantage of the services and support that are available to you, and stay motivated and persistent in your job search.

What services will I be offered at Jobcentre Plus?

Jobcentre Plus offers a range of help and advice via its website, including access to the UK's largest jobs database and phone-based job match service, Jobseeker Direct. It also has an online job kit. The jobs database is available through personal kiosks in job centres; find a job that interests you, print off the details, and use the free phones to contact employers straightaway.

Who can sign on for Jobseeker's allowance (JSA)?

People who are over the age of 18 and unemployed can apply for JSA. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may be eligible, too, as long as you fit into one of the following categories:

  • You are forced to live away from your parents
  • You are responsible for a child
  • You will suffer severe hardship if you don't get JSA

If you're between the age of 16 and 24, you'll be obliged to sign up for New Deal and start actively looking for jobs after six months of claiming JSA. If you don't participate in the process, you could lose your benefits.

How do I sign on?

The process starts with a phone call (between 8 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday), rather than walking into your local jobcentre. The call can take up to 40 minutes. Have details of your savings, rent, and national insurance number ready. It's also possible to claim online using the Claim online – Jobseeker's Allowance service.

You'll then be asked to attend a new jobseeker interview. This is often the most daunting part of the process, but attending is crucial for claiming benefits and might even lead to you finding a job. It's also important to try and establish a good relationship with your advisor as you'll probably see the same person regularly. "Think about how you come across to your advisor," advises 19-year-old Fizza Sachedina, who was on income support while at college. "Be aware of your persona and your temper."

What's the role of an advisor?

Your advisor will explain how Jobseeker's Allowance works and draw up a Jobseeker's Agreement, which confirms the kind of work you're looking for and your availability. If you don't understand anything, either ask them for clarification or look it up yourself online later. "Take everything down in writing," says Fizza. "Get it on headed paper, with the date and time and who you're talking to, so you can refer back to it if you need to."

What if I can't even afford to job hunt?

Your advisor can give you a small discretionary amount of financial help to get you kick-started with clothes and travel expenses for interviews. There's also a scheme available to help make the transition from claiming benefits to starting paid employment easier if you're a lone parent.

How can I make sure I get the job I want?

Your advisor should have an understanding of your background, qualifications, and skills and help you look for appropriate jobs. You'll have to be proactive about applying for jobs you want, though. "Don't wait for your advisor to contact you," says Fizza.

No one can force you to take a job, but refusing an offer is not encouraged and might affect your benefits. "In most cases, a job seeker would be expected to consider any employment which is appropriate to their skills and experience," says a spokesman for the DWP. "However, some employers may not be suitable for the customer, so there are occasions in which a customer could legitimately refuse employment without any effect on their benefit."

Other tips include:

  • Be realistic about the type of work you are looking for – even if you don't like the job you get, you're still picking up transferable skills that you can use in the future
  • Prove you are actively job-seeking; make copies of emails, covering letters, and application forms
  • If your circumstances change - for example, if you inherit money, get a job or decide to go to college - make sure you inform your advisor.

Find Your Local Jobcentre Plus Office