What is Work Programme?

The Work and Health Programme is a welfare-to-work programme which will be launched in 2018. It will provide specialised support for those with a health condition or disability, or those who are long-term unemployed. The Government expects that the majority of people referred to the Programme will be disabled.

Pluss have been awarded the Work and Health Programme contract for Southern England by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Pluss has a proud heritage of supporting people with health and disability needs and has developed a new model called ‘Opportunities Unlimited’ that will deliver a truly personalised service for job seekers. The key principle to our solution is that with the right support, most people can find work and build a career. We want to ensure that no-one is left behind. The Southern Contract Package Area (CPA) covers the following Jobcentre Plus districts:
      Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
      Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire and Dorset
      Avon, Severn and Thames (excluding Milton Keynes and Aylesbury)
      Berkshire, Surrey, Brighton and West Sussex


What is Work Programme?

Work Programme was introduced in June 2011 and is the flagship welfare-to-work programme of the Coalition government's welfare reform programme. Its aim is to get the long-term unemployed back into work is. The scheme various schemes which existed under the previous Labour government including New Deal, Flexible New Deal and Future Jobs Fund scheme.

We offer the Work Programme in conjunction with Bournemouth & Poole College and Working Links who are one of the contractors who run the Work Programme in Scotland, Wales, Devon, Cornwell, Somerset and Dorset.

Who is eligible?

Customers on the Work Programme are referred on to the programme by Jobcentre Plus. Those who are currently in receipt of either Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) may be mandated to take part in the Work Programme after:
      Three months if you are not in education, employment or training
      Nine months - if you’re aged 18 to 24
      12 months - if you’re 25 or over

What does Work Programme have to offer?

Anyone on the Work Programme can be given support by our Work Programme staff on the following:
      CV Writing
      Completing application forms
      Interview training
      Job Seeking

Whilst on the Work Programme, you are also entitled to careers guidance sessions to help you identify what work you would like to do and create a plan to help you achieve your goal.

Help can be provided for training and courses to help you get back into work. Some qualifications and courses we will be able to provide within our centres (these do vary depending on the centre you attend), if we cannot provide the training ourselves but we can find the training with another provider, funding may be available for you (if the qualification is job related and will boost your chances of getting back into work)

How long does the Work Programme last and how often must you attend?

The programme lasts for two years. We will work with you to understand your needs and circumstances, and create a plan to help you find work. Your action plan could include a activities such as volunteering or training towards a qualification with the aim of helping you find work. Attendance consists of minimum of 2 times a week, although this can vary depending on your personal circumstances.


What is Work choice?

Work Choice is a Government supported employment programme co-funded by the European Social Fund designed specifically for people with health problems, disabilities or learning needs. While working alongside Shaw Trust, Abilities aims to enable people on the Work choice programme to find and retain work by identifying their needs and providing the necessary support to fit their requirements. It is often the stepping stone into full unsupported employment for many people.

Who is eligible?

You may qualify for Work Choice if you:

      Are disabled as defined by the Equalities Act 2010 and your disability means that you face significant barriers to work
      Have complex work-related support needs arising primarily from disability
      Have requirements in work which cannot immediately be overcome through workplace adjustments
      Need support in work as well as help with finding work and cannot be helped through other programmes offered by the Department of Work and Pensions. You may be at risk of losing your job because of a disability or have recently left education and have demonstrated a need for support in work

What does Work Choice have to offer?

Working alongside other organisations we will ensure you get the best support available to help you with training and to find a job. You will be assigned a dedicated employment advisor to work with you to identify your personal strengths and qualities, what training and support you need to get you the type of job you want. We can help to arrange training you need to boost your skills. We can arrange work placements and work trials to gain you experience and an opportunity to prove yourself to an employer. If you find work while on Work Choice, we can offer support while you are in your job; we will come and see you in your workplace and talk with you and your employer to identify and problems, training or changes that are needed to improve

How long does the Work Choice last and how often must you attend?

Work Choice lasts up to 6 months with the possibility of an extension at the end of the programme if you need it. While on Work Choice you will receive weekly support building you up to 16 hours of work based activity.


What are Community Work Placements?

Community Work Placements is one of the latest programmes set up by the Department of Work and Pensions as part of the Government’s Help to Work initiative. Community Work Placements provide mandatory work experience placements to those who are referred on to it and are in organisations that provide a charitable service to the local community. The main goal of the programme is to provide the customers with up to date experience and references which will aid them in finding sustainable employment.

They will be placed into a work experience placement that lasts up to 6 months and will account for 30 hours per week of activity, including 4-10 hours of supported job searching.

Those participants who do not enter a suitable placement will undertake up to 30 hours per week of supported job search activity..

Who is eligible?

You may qualify for Community Work Placements if you:
      Are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
      Have been unemployed for a minimum of 3 years
      Have completed the 2 year Work Programme

What does Community Work Placements have to offer?

A work placement in a local organisation where you can build work skills and gain recent work experience to put on your CV. Help and support each week to search for, and apply for jobs.

How long does the Community Work Placememnts last and how often must you attend?

Community Work Placements last for 6 months. This will consist of 30 hour per week work placement and 4 hours job searching activity.


What is BTEC Training?

Our BTEC training programme is run in conjunction with Skills and Learning. It focuses purely on providing free training and achieving qualifications to give you the skills you need to get back into work. This programme is voluntary and available to those currently receiving Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support.

Who is eligible?

Anyone over the age of 19 and is currently receiving either Job Seekers allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.

What does BTEC Training have to offer?

Training is conducted in a friendly work like environment. You will be assigned a tutor when you start your course and have a number of knowledgeable staff at hand in the training room at all times to help you with your course.

Through Skills and Learning, the following qualifications are available:

      NVQ IT User skills
      NVQ Business Administration
      NVQ Customer Services
      Preparing for Employment
      Functional Skills English
      Functional Skills Maths

Level 3 Diplomas in IT User Skills are available for those over 24, but you must apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan

More information can be found on the government site

How long does the BTEC Training last and how often must you attend?

Our courses have no fixed hours of attendance and so days and times of training can be flexible to suit you. When you start a course, you agree your days of attendance with your tutor. Training is a maximum of 15 hours per week but can go as low as 8 depending on your circumstances.

BTEC Training

What Are Traineeships?

Traineeships is a programme for young people to prepare them for their future careers by helping them to become work ready. Traineeships are funded by the European Social Fund and run alongside Skills and Learning.

When on the Traineeship programme, each young person undertakes work preparation training, undertake a maths and English qualification, a vocational qualification and participate in a period of work placement in a employment sector of their choice. Work placements are arranged and closely monitored by Abilities to ensure that you receive the right level of support and any problems can be addressed as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, at present, Abilities only offer Traineeships in our Weymouth and Poole Centres.

Who is eligible?

Anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 who are not in another form of education or training. If you are 19-24 and have a identified learning difficulty, you may also be eligible.

What do Traineeships have to offer?

As mentioned, When on the Traineeship programme, you will be able to build the skills you need to be ready for work. You will take part in activities to build your social skills, identify your strengths and weaknesses, identify and research careers paths that might suit your likes dislikes and abilities.

Traineeships offer the following qualifications;

      BTEC in Work Skills (Preparing for Employment)
      Functional Skills English
      Functional Skills Maths
      A unit towards an NVQ or BTEC in a work relevant qualification. This could be a BTEC in IT User Skills Level 1 or 2, NVQ Business Administration Level 1 or 2, NVQ Customer Services Level 1 or 2. The Unit you do must be relevant to the work (and work placement) that you want.
You will also participate in a work placement. This will be arranged with you with a company that matches the type of work you want to progress into.

How long does the Traineeship programme last and how often must you attend?

Traineeships last 26 weeks. This will initially be 3 days a week, this will then move up to 5 days a week once a work experience placement has been arranged. At which point you will be doing 2 days in a work placement and 3 days training.