All JobcentrePlus (JCP) offices now have Wi-Fi enabled Web Access Devices (WADs) and have removed job points and customer access phones. This is part of an initiative which is a key enabler to successful Universal Credit (UC) delivery, supporting the broader aim of delivering a modern, digital service that maximises the use of online channels.
WADs are standalone devices that use Wi-Fi to access the internet and are intended to assist in making a claim to benefit or undertake job search activities. They do not have all the standard functionality of a computer but instead are designed to guide the user to those resources appropriate to their function and the menus are structured to enable this. The WADs are designed to be as simple and secure as possible and can be operated by customers with even basic computer skills.
All three Jobcentres (Kingswood, Horfield and Yate) support customers from the South Gloucestershire area and provide the following facilities and support to assist and enable individuals to confidently make use of digital channels:
Wi-Fi allowing individuals to bring their own devices if they wish to do so.
Wireless Access Devices – a booking system is operated to provide individuals with dedicated time to make use of a WAD to claim benefit or undertake Job search activities.
Digital mentors – Volunteers (individuals who are accessing JCP services and are confident using computers and have the skills to provide coaching support) enable each Jobcentre to offer a digital mentor, to assist individuals with building their computer skills and confidence accessing digital channels. A diary system is operated Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm for individuals to receive dedicated 1-1 support. They help with a range of needs including setting up email addresses, access to and use of Universal Jobmatch, making online applications and digital job search skills. They also help customers to make their claims to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Universal Credit (UC) where required and offer ongoing support to individuals until they are confident to operate a computer without assistance.
JobcentrePlus is constantly seeking new Digital mentors, because they often move quickly into work because having the volunteering experience on their CV demonstrates the skills they have to offer to an employer.
Work Coach support – Every claimant is assigned a named Work Coach and wherever possible will receive continuity of support from them. Work Coaches can provide tailored digital support to claimants on their caseload, as part of the employment support they offer. This is to assist claimants with improving their digital capability and knowledge of accessing digital channels. If a claimant has no digital skills, a Work Coach may refer individuals to specialist provision.
Work clubs – these are delivered within JCP offices and are resourced using JCP staff and other volunteers. There is the opportunity to provide 1-1 and group support to assist with improving digital skills and confidence that enables individuals to undertake job search activities online.
Kingswood run a daily Work club, Monday to Friday 2pm-4pm for all claimant groups. On Wednesday there is a Work club specifically to support Lone Parents which is supported by Bernice Britton until the end of March 2017 and runs 12.30pm-2.30pm. Horfield run a Work club Monday to Friday 3pm-4pm for all claimant groups. Yate run a weekly Work club which is primarily aimed at 50+ claimants however not exclusively. It is supported by a volunteer Digital mentor at Yate Library on a Wednesday morning 10am-11.30am.