In February 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) intranet hosted a story focusing on the success of recent Movement to Work placements, encouraging more DWP colleagues to get involved. The full article, including quotes from recent participants, is below.
Virtual Movement to Work is “a fantastic opportunity”
So says recent graduate Jessica, just one of many jobseekers to benefit from the innovative virtual work experience offered through a revamped Movement to Work Programme.
Coronavirus has had a huge effect on every aspect of our lives. For those on work experience it has meant the end of their work placements, but thanks to colleagues in the Central Movement to Work team, working collaboratively with service delivery colleagues, a safe and secure Virtual Movement to Work framework has been successfully developed. This means customers can benefit from meaningful online work experience, which is already leading to permanent work.
“Last year, when traditional Movement to Work placements were paused due to the pandemic, we realised we needed to act quickly to deliver support to the young people who were relying on them”, says Tom Munn, the delivery lead for the Central Movement to Work team.
Helen Colley, a Community Outreach Work Coach at Birkenhead Jobcentre, takes up the story: “We put our heads together as a team and came up with a creative solution that was put together quickly – and it’s proved to be very successful. “Safety was of primary importance,” continues Helen, “and we knew we couldn’t bring customers into the office, so we developed an online work experience package, something that replicated as much as possible what it is like to work in DWP.”
“I became inspired by the participants and their commitment.”
Tom was part of the team doing the initial testing, which took place in Merseyside and the West Midlands late last year. He says: “We tried to make every day varied and interesting for the participants, with guest speakers, one-to-one sessions and online learning. “At the start, I wasn’t sure how a virtual placement would work but very quickly I became inspired by the participants and their commitment. I could see the difference it was making to their confidence every day. I am so proud of everyone involved, especially our six participants.” The testing has proved incredibly successful, with five of the six participants going on to secure either Social Mobility Apprenticeships, Kickstart Placements, or permanent employment.
“I want to thank the team that made it happen.”
Jessica Rendle-Barnes, a recent graduate, said: “The DWP virtual work experience has been so helpful with increasing my confidence and building skills I never thought I’d need in a working environment. It was a fantastic opportunity and I want to thank the team that made it happen!”
Joe Nolan, who has recently found work with the Post Office, said: “The programme helped me gain a better understanding of working in DWP and gave me the knowledge I needed to get back to work.”
Scott Keegan, currently on a social mobility apprenticeship, said: “I found the experience extremely informative and useful for my future career path. The support during and after the programme is excellent, with a person-centred approach throughout.”