How JobCentre Plus can support employers

Find out how Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) JobCentre plus services can help you support local communities and grow your workforce.

21 March 2024

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, employers will be supported to build partnerships to develop a sustainable supply of locally recruited staff, while helping support the health of communities and reduce inequalities. As a key partner, JobCentre Plus offer a variety of national services to help employers grow and develop their employment offers and support priority groups in local communities. 

Beyond those priority groups noted on the Widening Participation Hub, the DWP also consider priority groups as:

  • people with health conditions
  • part-time workers
  • ex-offenders.

Employer Advisers

JobCentre Plus has a network of local Employer Advisers who can provide tailored support to employers to help them find the right people for their vacancies and support the local community. 

Services include:

  • giving advice to help write job descriptions
  • helping speed up the recruitment process
  • promoting vacancies in local Jobcentres
  • helping select and interview priority candidates
  • use of Jobcentre Plus offices to carry out interviews (where available)
  • local recruitment events to promote vacancies
  • helping connect employers with other businesses in your area
  • working with employers to plan future recruitment campaigns

Advisers can also work with employers to design a bespoke package to meet their recruitment needs, including sector-based work academy programmes, work experience and work trials. Other services include employer advice and vacancy advertising.

Find out more information on Employer Advisers at GOV.UK

Job Fairs

The DWP organises jobs fairs across the country, which employers are encouraged to attend to highlight roles available in their organisations. A jobs fair is increasingly becoming a popular way for job seekers to find entry-level roles, able to meet several different employers at the same time.

It can serve as a way for employers to raise awareness of their organisation and given the increased footfall, an efficient way to fill numerous vacancies simultaneously. Employers can advertise at jobs fairs at no cost, and certain events will be targeted at different priority groups supporting employers in realising their widening participation ambitions. 

To register your interest, speak to your local JobCentre Plus advisor who will be able to provide further details. 

Vacancy Advertising

 The DWP offers free services to advertise roles in health and care: 

GOV.UK Advertise a job service – A free job posting service that may serve as an additional connection point with job seekers and for those who don’t use other health and care job boards. 

Social media – promote vacancies via your local Jobcentre Plus Twitter account reaching jobseekers and career changers in your area. 

Accessing extra support

The DWP can signpost you to useful advice for supporting those with specific needs into a role in health and care, including: 

Access to Work – an employment grant supporting disabled people to start or stay in work 

Disability Confident employer scheme – encouraging employers to think differently about disability and to take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people 

Mentoring circles – a national initiative that connects mentors with jobseekers to help tackle employment inequalities 

Positive action – guidance on positive employer actions for recruitment and promotion 

Reasonable adjustments – providing help for workers with disabilities and/or health conditions and information about the Health Adjustment Passport. 

Work and Health Programme (WHP) Pioneer

WHP Pioneer is a bespoke tailored support package designed for economically inactive individuals who may have multiple barriers to work, such as health conditions. It looks to help individuals engage with employers at the earliest opportunity and provide them with further support on entering the workforce. This voluntary programme can last up to 15 months with the potential for six months of support in the workplace.

Employment advisors will work with participants to provide guidance, advice on suitable jobs, and support after starting work. This could include services such as:

  • support with creating a CV, advice of applying for jobs and interview guidance
  • advice on qualifications that gain new skills, and support with changing sectors.
  • helping with confidence building and advice on health and wellbeing.
  • support after joining the workforce.

To be eligible for WHP Pioneer, applicants should be of working age, not have any other DWP contracted provision, not have completed WHP previously, not have a job offer or be about to start work. The programme also requires that the applicant either has a disability or is in a disadvantaged group.

To discuss how best your organisation can best support recipients of this programme, employers should speak to their local JobCentre Plus advisor about contacting their regional programme provider. Engaging with economically inactive individuals can support widening participation aims whilst providing an entry into a health and care career.

Universal credit 

Universal Credit means the 16-hour rule no longer applies, so staff can increase their hours and no longer worry about losing their benefits. The flexibility of Universal Credit means employers can give staff extra shifts and responsibilities and enables existing employees to increase their skills and progress, encouraging retention and a long term reduction in recruitment costs.

For PAYE employers it is important to note that employers do not need to know if their employees are on Universal Credit, but claimants can tell their employer if they wish. Therefore, employers do not need to tell DWP about any employees who are getting Universal Credit, as this is automatically calculated. 

Find out more information on Universal Credit on GOV.UK

Universal Credit and Employers – More flexibility for employers and claimants:

Universal Credit and Employers – Making work better for all:

Recruitment and retention of older workers 

NHS Employers have developed a page outlining interventions that be taken to support the recruitment and retention of older workers including how to promote an age inclusive workplace, considerations for older workers and further information for employers.