JOB seekers are set to face new hurdles before signing on for benefits in a bid to increase their employability prospects.
New changes to the rules for job seekers come into force at the end of the month, and will require people to put together a CV and email address before visiting the Jobcentre.
There will also be more regular progress meetings to check on job hunters as they will now meet their advisor on a weekly basis.
The announcement comes as the Government feels the economy is improving with 31,000 more people in employment in the south west in the three months to January of this year.
From 2011 to 2013 in Swindon, 580 young people started work experience placements, 200 went into sector-based work academy courses, and 70 new business start-ups were created.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said the move aimed to help more people get into employment.
“We have made it our number one priority to get people back into work,” he said. “We have introduced a new package of measures which will ensure job seekers must prepare a CV and set up an email account before meeting with the job centre.
“They will meet weekly rather than fortnightly, and there will be regular reviews of their progress. “In return we will give people increased support to move into work but leave no space for excuses not to take up that offer.”
Mr Tomlinson said the new rules would ensure people were working for their benefits.
“We are determined to end the something-for-nothing culture and build an economy that delivers for people who work hard and play by the rules,” he said. “This is providing appropriate support to equip them with the best opportunities to succeed in job interviews.
“We have seen a 30 per cent reduction in job seekers since we came into office. “That is a sign of strength in Swindon’s local economy as we continue to attract new businesses.”
Employment organisations in Swindon urged caution with the new measures to ensure access to benefits does not become restricted to those who are in urgent need.
They said some jobseekers would need that initial help to create their CV.
David Wreathall, of Inner Flame, who helps get 16 to 25-year-olds into work, said: “For a while now, we’ve seen Jobcentre challenging them more about what they are doing to get a job, and being prepared to stop their claim if they don’t deliver.
“We understand that they will be expected to attend a CV workshop, and we trust that this will not delay them being able to claim benefits in the meantime. These young people need to be challenged and supported in equal measure.”
Esther McVey, the Cabinet Minister For Employment, said: “With the economy growing, unemployment falling and record numbers of people in work now is the time to start expecting more of people if they want to claim benefits.
“This is about treating people like adults and setting out clearly what is expected of them.”