The UK government has initiated the Universal Support program to enhance employment prospects and reduce economic inactivity. With £53 million in funding, this program offers personalized assistance to individuals facing complex employment challenges, especially those sidelined due to long-term illness or disability. This program, beginning today, September 13, 2023, marks the initial phase of the Universal Support employment initiative introduced during the Spring Budget.
The Universal Support program is a crucial investment in aiding individuals who have encountered difficulties accessing the job market. Its primary aim is to empower disabled individuals, those with health conditions, and those confronting additional employment challenges to achieve and maintain meaningful employment.
Jobcentre Work Coaches and providers of the DWP’s Work and Health Programme will make referrals to identify potential participants eager to work but currently lacking Work Coaches’ assistance. Following an initial assessment, participants will be linked with suitable employers based on their preferences, strengths, and previous work experiences. This ensures they promptly secure a job that suits them best.
Notably, Universal Support stands apart from traditional employment support by enabling participants to promptly secure a job, followed by highly personalized assistance to address challenges as they arise. This approach eliminates the need for extensive pre-employment training, providing a more adaptable and responsive system.
As the program advances, its goal is to support at least 50,000 people annually from 2025/26. It will also encompass assistance in managing health conditions, addressing debt issues, and facilitating workplace adjustments to accommodate individual needs.
The launch of the Universal Support program represents a significant stride towards a more inclusive and supportive employment landscape in the UK. As this initiative expands, it is poised to positively impact the lives of even more disadvantaged individuals, fostering economic participation and well-being for all.