Campaign to build the British workforce of the future

The biggest ever drive to help employers unlock the talent across Britain will be at the heart of a new Government campaign to create the workforce of the future, the Work and Pensions Secretary unveiled.

  • Biggest ever drive to help businesses unlock British talent unveiled in major speech by the Work and Pensions Secretary
  • Nationwide campaign to connect employers to local Jobcentres as new cross-government taskforce launched to unleash the domestic labour supply
  • AI work coach tools be rolled out in Jobcentres across UK to support cross-government mission
  • Industries and businesses facing recruitment challenges support the campaign, hailing the “significant investment” linking jobseekers to employers

In a major speech to business leaders, Mel Stride hailed the “huge opportunity” to fill vacancies with unemployed Brits, as tighter visa rules restrict businesses’ reliance on overseas labour and are starting to bring down legal migration.

Speaking at a Jobcentre in central London, Stride announced a major new advertising campaign encouraging employers struggling with staffing shortages to tap into the specialist services and solutions their local Jobcentre can offer.

Industry-leading employers and bodies have already thrown their support behind the nationwide effort, highlighting the power of engaging with the Jobcentre Network to connect the right candidate with the right business.

Alongside the campaign, the DWP is leading a new cross-Government ministerial group set up to develop new recruitment schemes in industries facing staffing shortages.

The taskforce, which has already met, will seek to emulate “HGV driver shortage style” initiatives, which helped to fill vacancies in the sector through solutions developed with employers including targeted skills ‘bootcamps’, Jobcentre training schemes and cutting red tape holding back domestic recruitment.

The expert group, including Home Office and Treasury ministers, will work directly with employers to implement changes that will unlock the domestic labour supply and boost skills among UK jobseekers, targeting extra help to key sectors including hospitality, care, construction and manufacturing.

In his speech, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride, said:

“Thousands of employers already have productive partnerships with Jobcentres, but I want more to join them – and to benefit from the practical, solution-driven support on offer.

Our staff have the passion and the know-how to provide the suitable, skilled candidate your business needs, with nearly 300,000 on-the-job-placements – known as Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) – taking place over the last three years.

While recruitment can be a real challenge, I worry that some employers just don’t know who to turn to for help.

And so from next week we’ll be running a major national marketing campaign to put Jobcentres centre stage – connecting more employers with the right candidates, growing the economy, and changing lives.”

Rain Newton-Smith, the Chief Executive of the Confederation for British Industry, added:

“Labour shortages are ultimately a long-term issue for the UK economy driven by demographic changes. In formulating a playbook for how to respond to this challenge, the Government is right to look at how it can reduce barriers to work.

A cross-Ministerial group to identify solutions to sector specific recruitment challenges is exactly the kind of governmental-grip that industry needs. Whilst better matching domestic workers to local vacancies by bolstering the role of Jobcentres is a smart play that can help ease some of the blockages within the labour market.”

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, commented:

“Our research shows that while firms continue to face skills shortages, many are not engaging with their local Jobcentre to find new staff. Improving awareness among employers of the role Jobcentres can play is crucial.

We look forward to working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and across Government to build a cross-sector labour market plan. The priority must be to connect people with opportunities and link up employers with the staff they need.”

Enabling local connections to be made between manufacturers with rewarding job opportunities to offer and workers with different skills and experiences to bring is vital, and the Jobcentre Plus offer is an important part of achieving this.”

The campaign will see adverts launched across TV, radio and online next Monday 27 May, alongside a new digital site for businesses to find information about the support Jobcentres can offer.

It comes after a DWP survey showed most employers are not aware of the range of Jobcentre Plus solutions that could help them recruit workers.

For example, 93% weren’t aware of Sector Based Work Academy Programmes and 82% unaware of work trials.

This is despite nearly 300,000 SWAP training schemes taking place in the last three years across sectors including hospitality, construction, and education, backed by businesses whilst they are actively hiring.

From advertising on the Find a Job site, to job fairs and financial support like Access to Work, Jobcentre Plus is a great way for businesses to recruit talented staff with access to 1.4 million unemployed people.

In another boost to Jobcentres, Mel Stride announced that Artificial Intelligence is set to be rolled out nationwide across the network from autumn, to help modernise the benefits system and improve outcomes for claimants.

The AI tool, called a-cubed, can trawl thousands of pieces of guidance to instantly arm a work coach with information on the best support to help their claimant into work quicker, a task that otherwise can take hours. This is part of ambitious plans to develop AI across the Department for Works and Pensions.

Today’s move comes as the Prime Minister announced the most radical package of welfare reforms in a generation, building on the Government’s £2.5 billion Back to Work Plan which is expected to help over a million people to find and stay in work.

Findings from the DWP Employer Survey 2022 conducted with 8,002 employers in Great Britain.

With over 100 members any business in Dorset can join Dorchester Chamber from business for £60p/a (no VAT).