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Steps to Work

Steps to Work (StW) offers a number of different choices around work related activities that can be fitted to suit your needs when it comes to finding you employment.

What happens?

When taking part in Steps to Work you will be allocated an adviser who is there to provide support and guidance to help you decide which opportunities best suit you.

What are the benefits?

  • personalised advice and guidance to help you make the right choices
  • help to find and remain in work
  • you can re-train while remaining on benefit plus receive a weekly Training Premium
  • opportunity to gain recognised qualifications
  • opportunity to improve existing skills
  • opportunities for work experience

Who is eligible?

Anyone over 18-years-old, lone parents aged 16 and over, who is not working or working less than 16 hours each week is eligible. You will be able to participate in StW if you are claiming benefit or if you are not working and not claiming benefit.

What are the Steps?

Steps to Work is delivered in a 'three-step' process.

Step One

Step one offers anyone who is nearly ready for work ongoing one-to-one support and guidance from an adviser that's aimed at helping you to find work as soon as possible. It also offers a range of short courses that can help you develop your confidence and motivation, improve your jobsearch skills and avail of 'accredited' courses, that can help you find work.

Step Two

Step Two offers a wider range of longer term support if you need more help to find work. Your adviser can put together a package of support to best meet your training and work experience needs and the needs of employers.

Step Two can last from three weeks to 52 weeks depending on what you are doing. While you are on Step Two you will receive £15.38 per week in addition to any other benefits you are entitled to.

Step Three

Step Three provides additional support and advice from your adviser for up to six weeks to help you find a job.

Is there anything else available in Steps to Work?

Step Ahead 50+

Step Ahead 50+ will provide a fixed term job opportunity lasting up to 26 weeks with an organisation in the voluntary/community sector. It is aimed at people who are aged 50 or over and who have been unemployed and claiming benefit for 12 months or more. It will give participants a chance to experience a real job and provide them with a recent work history.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Step Ahead 50+, you must be:

  • aged 50 years old or over, out of work and in receipt of either Jobseeker's Allowance (including Benefit Based Training Allowance), Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance for a continuous period of 12 months or more •a short break or an accumulation of short breaks, which do not exceed 28 days in total, will not affect your eligibility You are only eligible for one period of employment funded by Step Ahead 50+.

You can also undertake a qualification while on Step Ahead 50+.

More information on this programme is available by contacting an Employment Service Adviser in your local Jobs and Benefits office/JobCentre.

Graduate Acceleration Programme

The Steps to Work programme has been enhanced to meet the needs of unemployed graduates with the introduction of the Graduate Acceleration programme. This offers graduates the chance to kickstart their career by undertaking a 6 month work placement and a graduate level qualification.

First Start

New job opportunities for 18 to 24 year olds who have been on Jobseekers Allowance for at least six months have been introduced into the Steps to Work programme to help combat the problem of youth unemployment.

The First Start initiative provides employers with short term support to encourage them to recruit unemployed young people into permanent employment. This initiative gives young unemployed people a real chance to kickstart their careers by boosting the number of jobs available exclusively for them.

More information on First Start is available by contacting an adviser in the local Jobs and Benefits office or JobCentre or by ringing 0800 353530.

Steps to Work - Childcare assistance

Are you a lone parent or the partner of a benefit claimant and looking for work? Extra money to help with your childcare costs is now available to make it easier for you to take part in Steps to Work and find a job.

Disclosing Criminal Convictions

Most employers will want to know about criminal convictions and failure to declare them can be seen as dishonesty. Disclosing convictions at an early stage will mean that you won’t have to worry about someone finding out at a later date.

The leaflet Steps to Work: Disclosing Criminal Convictions will give you the following advice:

Where can you get more information?

You can get more information on Steps to Work by contacting an adviser in your local Jobs & Benefits Office or JobCentre. You can also ring 0800 353 530.

Latest on what is happening with StW

Consultation

A formal consultation on the successor programme to Steps to Work, Steps 2 Success (NI) was launched on 20 July 2012. More information is available on the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) website.

StW statistics

You can find out how Steps to Work (StW) is performing by accessing the latest Steps to Work statistics.

More useful links