Blackpool and St Annes job hunters are getting an online boost to their prospects of finding a job thanks to improvements at the Jobcentre Plus.
In line with the increasing need to upskill jobseekers with vital digital skills to effectively look for work, the offices have been remodelled to now include increased access to the internet.
In Blackpool North there area now 15 standalone access points, Blackpool South has seven and St Annes seven.
The launch event was held with partners in Blackpool who deal with many of the most vulnerable customers, and who themselves do not have readily available internet access and need to be able to quickly signpost to the most effective source of support.
Yvonne Cooper, new employer and partnership manager for Jobcentre Plus in the Blackpool and the Fylde Unit, said: “Blackpool Jobcentre was pleased to be able to show the remodelled front of house area which is now a more welcoming space where claimants can spend time looking for work with personal support from staff.
“The addition of a seated wi-fi area has opened up opportunities for those with smartphones or their own devices to again be able to spend the time needed with support job searching.
“The space now also allows for small groups to be coached together in effective job searching techniques by our own digital champion, who at the launch gave a short demonstration to the partners of the ease in which the devices can be used.”
She said the upgrade was timed to be ready for the launch of the Government’s new Universal Credit.
She said it enabled partner organisations to see how their service users can be supported in future in increasing their digital skills allowing them to more effectively look for work and, in line with Universal Credit, to then increase their earnings.
One of the representatives from a partner organisation said: “I enjoyed the session this morning, and I look forward to working in what seems a more positive and customer orientated setting.
“Everything looks promising and I am sure my service users with mental health issues will benefit from this.”
Another added: “Many thanks for inviting me to today’s launch.
“I found it very interesting. We will send customers who need assistance with applying for jobs online in your direction.”
Yvonne Cooper said the major benefits of the revamp were: increased accessibility to the internet, introduction of a wi-fi enabled zone for users of personal devices, immediate on-hand support from staff, the fact that no appointment is needed and a welcoming front of house area committed to improving the digital skills of claimants.