Skills Support for Unemployed

The aim of the Skills Support for Unemployed programme is to provide skills support to unemployed individuals who are claiming JSA and ESA (WRAG) benefits and looking to enter the labour market.  Through this programme we will ensure adults (18 years and over) are provided with the correct level of skills and employability support they need to increase their chances of entering employment / starting new Apprenticeships (18 to 24 years).

This programme is part of the Governments strategy for skills published in November 2010 sets out a clear responsibility for the Government to ensure that everyone has the skills they need to access employment and participant in the civil society.  For both economic and social reasons it is essential that those without employment are helped to gain the right skills to find sustainable work with the opportunity to progress, and that employers have access to skilled labour to help their businesses succeed.

Through this programme there is an opportunity for the 18 to 24 year group to progresses into an Apprenticeship start, by doing on the job training. This ensures that the participant receives the support into employment in the sector that they desire to work in and at the same time gaining the skills needed through competence based qualifications, it also supports the employer by taking on staff that are training on the job and providing them with skilled labour.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Aged 18 +
  • Unemployed
  • UK Resident
  • Claiming JSA (Including partners on joint claims)
  • Claiming ESA (WRAG – work related activity)
  • Individuals actively seeking work and who are nearer to the labour market but who are still within the JSA and ESA group
  • Individuals who are further from the labour market including lone parents, older workers, offenders or LLDD etc and who are claiming JSA or ESA
  • Geographical area – eligibility will be for the individual will be based on their postcode and if the individual  has no fixed postcode of their own it will be based on the Jobcentre postcode where they sign on
  • Eligibility will need to align with the eligibility identified in the Government’s Skills Strategy and Skills Funding Agency Guidance Note 6.  If an individual is ineligible for publicly funded support in the Skills Strategy and the Skills Funding Agency Guidance Note 6 they will also be ineligible for ESF funded activity
Apprenticeship Grant Payments – Additional Eligibility

Apprenticeship starts will only be eligible if the individual has come through the programme eligibility and are:

  • Aged between 18 to 24 years
  • Where the employer is employing the apprentice for 35 hours per week, including off the job training, for the duration of their Apprenticeship programme.

Employers will only be eligible for this grant where they:

  • Are a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and employ 1 to 249 employees
  • Have not previously engaged in Apprenticeships or there has been a period of 12 months since the last Apprenticeship ended
  • Have an Apprenticeship programme but can confirm additionality and
  • Satisfy State Aid regulations – State Aid is the use of funding to provide support to an organisation, including free or subsidised training funded through ESF. Where this support is given to employed individuals, the European Commission sets a maximum financial limit to the level of support that organisations and businesses can receive in a three-year period. This helps to ensure that all companies have equal opportunities in the marketplace.  As a co-financing organisation for ESF, the Skills Funding Agency is bound by European law to comply with these limits and monitor the level of support it gives to individuals employed by small and medium sized enterprises. ESF providers should seek advice and guidance from their Skills Funding Agency Account Manager.
Accredited training routes available

Accredited units available:

  • Retail
  • Customer Service
  • Office and IT Skills
Pre-employment training
  • Interview Preparation
  • Effective Job Search
  • Confidence and Motivation
  • CV and Cover Letters
  • Health and Wellbeing

The length of the training provision will up to 13 weeks (extension dependant on needs) and can be full or part time


Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and European Social Fund (ESF)