excited woman at desk

Schemes that are getting people back into work

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

If you’re looking for work, there are several existing and new schemes that are designed to help. From free college courses to work placements, we’ve investigated the options that are available.


Kickstart scheme 

Under the Kickstart scheme, the government is giving funding to employers who create six-month work placements for people aged between 16 and 24 who are receiving Universal Credit. The placements are to give young people a chance to learn skills they can transfer to the wider job market. Some placements could lead to apprenticeships or even job offers. 

The scheme is available in England, Scotland, and Wales until the end of 2021. If you’re interested in finding work with Kickstart, you’ll have to be referred by your work coach to join the scheme. Your work coach can help you find placements and you can also search for Kickstart jobs on job sites such as Indeed and ReedMake sure you use “kickstart” when you search. 

Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) 

SWAP is a scheme designed to help people learn specific skills that employers are looking for via a course that ends in a recognised qualification. This increases your chances of finding work and helps employers find suitable candidates. The first part of the programme involves study with a local college, followed by a work experience placement. Finally, there could be a job interview offered, or where this isn’t available, help with making applications. 

Some of the sectors covered include social care, construction, hospitality, and retail. The programme is open in England and Scotland to anyone over the age of 17 that is on Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance. Speak to your work coach if you’re interested in finding a SWAP or contact Jobcentre Plus to see if you’re eligible. 

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) 

The NEA scheme has been running since 2011 and helps those that have a good business idea bring it to life. It’s also available to those that are already self-employed and need help to develop their business if it’s been running for less than two years. You’ll be provided with business mentoring to help you craft a business plan. Once the plan is approved by your mentor, you could receive financial assistance of £1,274 over a period of 26 weeks. You may also be able to apply for a loan to cover your initial costs. 

To be eligible for this scheme you, or your partner, must be receiving Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance. If you’re on Income Support and you’re a single parent, disabled, or sick, you may also be eligible. You can speak to your work coach and if this scheme is right for you they’ll be able to refer you to a mentor. 

Lifetime Skills Allowance 

This scheme begins in April 2021 and will offer free level 3 courses to anyone that doesn’t already have an A-Level, or equivalent qualification. The fully funded courses will be provided by colleges and are courses that offer value to employers so increasing career prospects of those that take them. You’ll be able to choose from almost four hundred courses including BTEC Diplomas, City and Guilds, and NVQs.  There are a wide variety of subjects from agriculture to plastering, and from childcare to engineering. The courses will be open to adults over the age of 23. 

Skills Bootcamps 

Along with the Lifetime Skills Allowance, the government has also started Skills Bootcamps. These bootcamps are courses that last between three and four months. They’re free and will teach digital and technical skills to people aged 19 and over, increasing their employability. They are only available in certain parts of the country at the moment, but this initiative will expand further in 2021. Bootcamps are currently available in these areas. 

Skills Toolkit 

The Skills Toolkit has a number of free online courses that are accessible to anyone. They cover some basic skills such as bookkeeping, mathematics, IT literacy, and creating a winning CV. 

To learn more about where you can find free online courses, you can read on here.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

BACK TO BLOG HOME