New temporary Jobcentre to open doors in Sunderland
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will open a new temporary Jobcentre at Sunderland Software Centre as part of the Government's ongoing Plan for Jobs.
A new temporary Jobcentre will open in spring - expected to be operational by April - providing a range of assistance, enabling Work Coaches to provide tailored, face-to-face support in a safe and secure environment.
DWP have taken a temporary lease on approximately 18,000 sq ft of space in the building and will use the temporary Jobcentre to provide guidance and support to people from Sunderland and the surrounding areas.
A new access point will be put in place at the centre to enable the service to have its own 'front door' for residents making use of the support. Existing software and tech businesses in the building will continue to have their own dedicated access to the centre and pro-active work will continue through both the Council's Business Investment Team and Sunderland Software City to continue to support companies and stimulate business start-up, growth and innovation.
The temporary Jobcentre can support approximately 100 Work Coaches, and it is hoped that, through support and assistance, the service will enable residents to find new roles that match their skills and experience and play their part in driving innovation among the city's businesses. The existing Jobcentres in the city will remain open.
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: "Sunderland has made some incredibly positive announcements recently about new employers coming to the city, and connecting our residents - many of whom have been hit by the pandemic - to these fantastic opportunities, as well as others with existing employers, is vital.''
"This new DWP support in the heart of the city will enable targeted support to be given to those who need it most, from a base that is easily accessible due to the excellent transport links in the city centre. It's critical that we do everything we can to make sure our residents are in as strong a position as possible to access vital jobs as the city recovers from the impact of the pandemic, and indeed to connect our innovative businesses to talented people who can drive their growth. We're pleased to be able to support DWP."
Jill McKinney, head of skills at Sunderland Software City, who are tenants within the Software Centre, said
"This is a great opportunity for ourselves and other tenants in the centre. The service will bridge the skills-employment gap through upskilling, providing a talent-pool for some of the employment opportunities centre tenants may have."
Work is now underway to create a self-contained workspace focused on one side of the building which will be operational from the Spring - rising from the ground floor through to the second floor - from which DWP can support residents.
Steven Martin, Senior Operations Manager at DWP, said: "This very welcome development will enable DWP to deliver its key role in matching our customers to the exciting job opportunities available both in our city centre and in the local travel to work area. Our Work Coaches have knowledge of a wide range of vacancies and training opportunities that lead to employment and we look forward to continuing to support local people to move into the numerous roles that are available.''