The government institution that is the Jobcentre Plus is what many members of the population face when they are without work. It is administered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and its aim is to help find people regular employment by matching vacancies with those suitable to fill such vacancies.
These days the organisation caters for millions of people every week and is not only responsible for assisting the unemployed to locate a job, but also to provide services such as the financial aid given to those out of work for any reason. But while it is still the name seen on the high street, it is no longer a distinct operation, but merely a part of the DWP as a whole. Jobcentre Plus is a brand that was felt by government to be too well known to be got rid of.
History And Development
The roots of the modern day brand that we see go back to the early 1900s when the casual job markets were the cause of much social and political disquiet; these were supplanted by government run labour exchanges. Much like today, these were designed to help employers advertise open positions and for jobseekers to find and fill them.
It was the passing of the National Insurance Act in 1911 that led to the first financial assistance being paid out in 1913. At first it was required that you had previously paid National Insurance before you were allowed to claim these benefits and the scheme was only open to those in specific industries including building and engineering. Later it was decided that these benefits should be universal regardless of a history of contributions.
The terms “signing on” and “dole” were commonplace among the tongues of Britain until recently when they have become less used. They came about because you were, and still are, required to sign a form declaring that you are not in any form of employment. And the government is responsible for “doling out” the money to those in need.
Employment exchanges, as they were called from 1917 onwards, were the singular places for both those hunting for jobs and seeking personal assistance until, that is, 1973 when the two services were largely separated with the creation of Jobcentres and Unemployment Benefit Offices (dole offices). This was the case until the 1990s when reintegration occurred and the Jobcentre once again became a full service facility for those looking for work.
Most larger towns and all cities now have Jobcentre Plus offices but they have changed somewhat from their initial setup. These days the vacancies being advertised can be browsed via a touch screen computer system which is also accessible on the internet.
There is also much more one-on-one advice and help given out by advisors trained to maximise a person’s chances of landing a job. Tips on how to write a great CV and ace a job interview are now delivered alongside information for those looking to broaden their skill base via courses or apprenticeships. Indeed, development is seen as a vital function of the modern organisation.
Because of the demand for help and the provision of staffing, it is almost always required that you phone your local Jobcentre Plus in advance to book an appointment.
If you have not visited before, you will be asked important questions about your situation including your reasons for being out of work, details of your previous employment, the training and qualifications you have, and your current financial situation. With this information, the advisor will begin to formulate a Back to Work plan. They will help you claim the correct and full benefits you are entitled to, suggest roles that you might apply to and get you as fully prepared for job hunting as possible.
We encourage all jobseekers to fully utilise the Jobcentre Plus and the services they offer because doing so will improve your chances of getting back into work.