What is the Solent Jobs Programme?

The Solent Jobs Programme is a scheme running across the Southampton, Portsmouth and the Solent area to help people with health problems who need some extra support to get back into the workplace. You will receive personalised support to help you manage your condition and build up your skills and confidence, then we will help you apply for paid work with an employer who understands your needs.

Who can take part?

Anyone who has been out of work for a while and is claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credits, suffers from a health condition and wants to start working again. It doesn’t matter what your health condition or disability is (e.g. chronic pain, anxiety, depression, mobility problems), or if you have an offending background – we will do our best to help.

What kind of support do I get?

You will be paired up with an employment support advisor, who will support you while you’re on the programme. They will get to know you and your needs, they will work with you to build up your confidence and readiness for going back to work, and get you onto courses that will help you develop. They will help you to overcome the problems you face in finding or keeping a job.

Can I see if the job is right for me before committing to a permanent job?

Once you and your adviser feel that you’re ready, you can apply for a placement with a carefully selected employer, also called a TEP (Transitional Employment Placement). Your adviser will do their best to find something as well suited to you and your interests as possible, to make sure that your transition back to work is as easy as it can be. If you’re not ready for going back to work yet, you might decide that you’d like to do some volunteering first, to help build up your skills and confidence.

What happens on my placement?

You’d do a short unpaid trial (normally around two weeks) to make sure that you like the employer, and that you fit in well with the business. If you and your employer are happy, you’ll then go into a longer term placement where you work for between 16 and 25 hours a week, according to your needs, and you get paid by the council, not the employer. This will be for up to six months, paid at the National Living Wage.

What happens at the end of the trial?

Your employer will then have the choice to offer you a permanent job. If they do, you’ll be able to move into work knowing that your employer has a full understanding of your condition and that you have the skills and experience needed to do the job. If they don’t offer you a job, you will be in a really strong position to apply for other work, and your adviser will help you to look and apply for further work.

Will it affect my benefits?

As part of your support from your adviser, you will get lots of help with managing your money, and you’ll do a Better Off calculation to make sure that taking part in a work placement leaves you better off.

How do I find out more?

If you email sjp@southampton.gov.uk with your name and the area you live in, we’ll get back to you within two working days to see how we could help.