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supporting welfare to work providers

Government employment support programmes

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Since New Deal 50+ came to an end, there have been few employment support measures specifically for people aged 50+.

The Government has now replaced nearly all the previous employment support schemes for those out of work and on welfare benefits, with its new Work Programme.

The Work Programme does not contain 50+ specific measures. People aged 50+ are not designated a ‘disadvantaged' group under the Programme.

However, older jobseekers facing additional barriers, such as having been on Incapacity Benefit, may qualify for faster referral and help. This is the list of early entry potential:

  • a disabled person
  • an ex-offender
  • a person with mild to moderate mental health issues
  • a care-leaver
  • a carer on Jobseeker's Allowance
  • an ex-carer
  • a homeless person
  • a former member of HM Armed Forces personnel
  • a partner of a current or former member of HM Armed Forces personnel
  • a person with either current or previous substance dependency problems that present a significant barrier to employment.

Jobcentre Plus advisers have greater flexibility and discretion to ‘fast track' particular individuals but in many cases older jobseekers will be unemployed for at least 12 months before they are referred on to providers.

Under the Work Programme, providers have much greater freedom to decide what support and training they will supply to the jobseekers referred to them, since the main emphasis now is on getting people into sustainable work. How providers actually achieve this is of far less concern than in past programmes.

The Work Choice programme for disabled people was introduced in October 2010. It replaced the DWP Work Preparation and WORKSTEP programmes and the Job Introduction Scheme. Its aim is to provide a tailored, coherent range of specialist employment services which can respond more flexibly to the individual needs of disabled people and their employers and make better use of resources.

It is specifically targeted at those customers who, by reason of significant disability, cannot be helped into employment through Jobcentre Plus mainstream programmes.

Work Clubs is a Great Britain wide initiative which aims to support the development of a network of locally led community based support for the unemployed which will grow organically.  The main aim of Work Clubs is to help people make the most of local knowledge and resources to help unemployed people in their communities gain employment.  They will provide unemployed people with a place to meet and exchange skills, find opportunities, make contacts, share experience and receive support to help them return to work.

Work Together is a Great Britain wide Jobcentre Plus initiative that encourages unemployed people to volunteer to improve their skills and employment prospects while they look for work.


In June 2014, the Government issued Fuller Working Liives - a framework for action which is its new action plan to help olders workers stay ing the workplace.  Fuller Working Lives is based on the research. It summarises the main causes of  unplanned early exits from the labour force, including health problems, disabilities, caring responsibilities, and redundancy and lays down a number of actions the Government will be taking.


This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.