Department for Work and Pensions, executive agency Jobcentre Plus, central to the delivery of the department’s pledge for a move towards ‘digital by default’ via Universal Credits, is also backing Race Online 2012’s key Digital Champion and low-cost kit programmes.
The agency has recruited 820 Digital Champions, one in every Jobcentre in the UK, signposting jobseekers to local IT training centres, such as UKO and libraries, to increase their employability. The champions are also flagging up Race Online 2012’s low-cost recycled computer schemes to clients.
Jobcentre Plus treats digital skills and services as core to advisory interviews, and now has an intranet site and weekly email newsletters to keep champs motivated and up-to-date with campaigns and best practice.
In January, the network ran a four-week campaign to actively promote IT skills training, with taster events in 20 network offices run by staff and volunteers from UK Online Centre network, including targeted action in Sheffield. In May, digital champions from across the agency’s network attended and reported back from the national digital conference 2011.
Future plans include support for Race Online 2012 partners’ Go ON Give an Hour (October 2011) and Spring Online (2012) campaigns, as well as leveraging the agency’s Community 10,000 volunteering programme.
Existing online claims services for Jobseeker’s Allowance are being expanded so that, from next year, customers claiming any of the six main working age benefits will be able to track progress of their claim, find answers to common enquiries and notify some changes through a secure customer account. The network also plans to launch a new online vacancy taking and job matching service for employers and jobseekers.
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