In early July, JobFit were represented at the annual industry conference, this year held in Liverpool. We were pleased to see that a number of our Providers were also in attendance to hear the latest news from DWP, our Competitors, from Providers; both end to end and specialists, and from Employers.
Some of the key points that we took away were as follows:
- The Work Programme is improving – A record 30.5 million people in work – up 780,000 from a year earlier and up nearly 1.7 million since 2010
- Fall in claimant count – The largest annual fall in the claimant count has occurred since 1998 – down 406,000 in a year
- Changing labour market trends – There has been a shift in the types of jobs that people are moving into and the types of skills demanded by employers, for example, there 4 million fewer jobs in manufacturing than there were 35 years ago, this has been replaced by the increase in jobs in services, now 10 million more jobs in a range of service roles
- Government has a role to play at a national and local level – Government will be providing a framework that supports growth and the creation of jobs. Locally commissioned services will play a key part moving forward
- Universal credit is underway – With a growing number of areas completing roll out, service has begun to accept joint claims in Hammersmith, Inverness, Rugby, Bath and Harrogate, with over 600,000 Claimant Commitments signed. Universal Credit will make 3 million households better off and DWP will continue to develop policies that encourage labour market participation for people on out of work benefits
One overarching theme which came across in the conference was the discussion regarding entrenched worklessness and how we need better targeted spending on labour market programmes to tackle this issue. I suspect this will be a key theme moving forward into the election and beyond in the Spending Review. As we have more insight we can share, we will do so through local Supply Chain forum