EU cash will help Doncaster back to work scheme as claimant count doubles

Doncaster Council has secured more than £2.4 million from the EU in helping people across the borough get back into employment.

Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 4:45 pm

First launched in 2018, Doncaster Council’s Advance Project has resulted in employment support to 690 Doncaster residents, with 260 progressing into employment.

Extra money will help extend the project and bosses say this is especially important as around 43,000 in Doncaster are currently on furlough and Universal Credit claimants have doubled on pre-Covid-19 levels.

As a result of sharing the success of the project with the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Employment Group, other councils in the area expressed an interest in working with Doncaster to expand this into an SCR project.

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Claire Bossward, employment and enterprise manager at Doncaster Council said: “Sheffield City Region is experiencing substantial increases in Universal Credit claimant numbers as a result of the impact of Covid-19. Doncaster’s figures have doubled on pre-covid levels.

“There are a substantial number of furloughed staff around 43,000 in Doncaster alone that pose a potential redundancy risk at the end of the scheme.

“Advance would provide an increased resource to work with local employers to ensure staff are supported to explore alternative careers, access training and development to mitigate further increases in job losses."

In addition to other councils, Doncaster Chamber has also asked to partner in the scheme to specifically pilot productivity training with employees in Doncaster businesses.

Cabinet members are expected to enter into a funding agreement with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to drawdown the money from December.

The Advance programme also include work tasters including employer insights and open days arranged to take place throughout the project.

These include within the public sector, manufacturing, engineering, rail, logistics, digital, education, construction and finance.

“It will enable people to explore new careers in growing sectors moving from those hard hit from Covid-19 with limited future options.

Ms Bossward added: “Existing provision cannot meet current demand and without expansion of the service, potential participants who have been disadvantaged in the workplace will not receive support.”

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