Skills for Life and Work
Skills for Life and Work is a training programme for young people who want to develop their skills and get ready for work. If you’re not sure what kind of job you’d like, Skills for Life and Work can help you decide. The training programme is available from September 2021.
What is Skills for Life and Work
Skills for Life and Work will help you build the confidence and skills you need to find work. If you’re unsure about the kind of work you want to train for, it can help you to decide. You’ll be able to work towards recognised qualifications and get real experience in a workplace.
You’ll take part in Skills for Life and Work for between 24 and 30 hours each week for two years. If you have a disability, you can take part in Skills for Life and Work for three years.
Who is Skills for Life and Work for
Skills for Life and Work is for you if you are a young person who has left school but need experience of work along with qualifications at Level 1 or Entry Level. You may need these to help you find a job or to move on to higher level training. You may be able to follow one or more Level 2 qualifications while on Skills for Life and Work, depending on your needs and circumstances.
If you are aged 16-17 years you can join Skills for Life and Work. If you have a disability you can join up to 22 years of age. If you have an in-care background, you can join up to 24 years of age. Your local Careers Office can provide full details on these and other eligibility requirements.
What happens during Skills for Life and Work
Skills for Life and Work includes a significant amount of time spent in a workplace (usually every week) as well as training with your training organisation for the rest of the time. You’ll work towards qualifications in personal development and employability, and a qualification in the vocational (work) area you choose. If you need to, you can also work towards Essential Skills qualifications in literacy, numeracy and ICT.
Skills for Life and Work will always be strongly focused on helping you move on successfully after you leave the programme. This could include aiming for a Traineeship or an Apprenticeship, or other employment.
Non-means tested Education Maintenance Allowance
While taking part in Skills for Life and Work you’ll qualify for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £40 per week (depending on attendance). If your parent(s)/guardian(s) receive Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, means tested Job Seeker’s Allowance or Housing Benefit, that benefit will not be affected by the EMA.
If you are entitled to one of these benefits in your own right, then that benefit won’t be affected either. However, it will be important that you let the Department for Communities and your local Jobs & Benefits Office know that you are taking part in the Skills for Life and Work programme. This is so that they can advise you if you are receiving the benefits you are entitled to.
Your parent(s)/guardian(s) will also be entitled to receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit provided all other conditions for the receipt of the benefits are met.
As well as the EMA, you’ll receive bonus payments as you complete various stages of your training. You may also receive help with travel expenses and childcare costs, depending on your circumstances.
Extra support if you have a disability
If you have a disability, extra support may be available to help you get the most out of Skills for Life and Work. You can discuss this with your Careers Adviser and your training provider.
What do I do next if I’m interested
If you’re interested in Skills for Life and Work, you should contact your Careers Adviser.
Your Careers Adviser will talk with you about what kind of work and training you are interested in and what qualifications you have and need. They will help you consider all your options and decide if Skills for Life and Work is the most suitable programme for you, and if you are eligible to join.
You’ll need a ‘Training Credit’ to join the programme. You can only get this from a Careers Adviser. If you’re eligible for Skills for Life and Work, the Careers Adviser will use the information you have discussed to prepare your Training Credit. You can then approach a Skills for Life and Work provider.
Where can I take part
Skills for Life and Work is provided by training organisations and most of the Further Education Colleges, across Northern Ireland. You will most likely take part in your own Council area but you can discuss this with your Careers Adviser and the training provider if you need to. Information on where Skills for Life and Work is available can be found here: Skills for Life and Work - training providers by council area
If you have any questions on Skills for Life and Work, or for further information, contact your Careers Adviser or Youth Inclusion Branch in the Department for the Economy.
Employers and work experience providers
You can find further information about those who provide work experience opportunities here: Providing work experience for young people.
To find out how your information will be managed, you can view the privacy notice for the Skills for Life and Work programme.