UNEMPLOYED Brits on Universal Credit can now continue to receive benefits for up to 16 weeks while they re-train to help get them a job.

Normally, hard up claimants can only claim benefits for up to eight weeks while they take part in training that will help them get work.

The Department for Work and Pensions hopes the extended support will enable those out of work to retrain for roles in sectors where help is needed, such as social care and engineering.

However, the training has to be carried out under the Government's £95million Lifetime Skills Guarantee programme.

Under the scheme, over 400 free training courses are being carried out by local employers, colleges and local authorities to help people gain a level three qualification.

These are equal to an A level, advance technical certificate or diploma.

What subjects are available?

UNDER the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee programme, people out of work can gain qualifications in the following subjects:

  • accounting and finance
  • agriculture
  • building and construction
  • business management
  • childcare and early years
  • digital
  • engineering
  • environmental conservation
  • health and social care
  • horticulture and forestry
  • manufacturing technologies
  • mathematics and statistics
  • medicine and dentistry
  • public services
  • science
  • teaching and lecturing
  • transportation operations and maintenance
  • warehousing and distribution

You can see the full list here.

Some of the courses can be carried out online or part-time, and Universal Credit claimants enrolled on one can continue to claim welfare payments for up to 12 weeks to support them through their learning.

The scheme also offers "skills bootcamps", which are typically run colleges, to fast-track trainees to an interview with a local business.

Candidates that enrol on one of these courses will be able to claim the cash for up to 16 weeks.

However, the Universal Credit support has only been extended for six months, meaning from November it will drop back down to eight weeks.

The level 3 courses can be taken in a number of subjects, including accounting and finance, agriculture, medicines and dentistry, and engineering.

They're only available to those aged 19 and over who don't already hold a level three or equivalent qualification in any subject.

To apply, you'll need to find a list of colleges and training providers in your local area and apply through them.

Some courses will have admissions criteria, but if you're accepted then you won't have to pay a fee.

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, said: "A lack of relevant skills can hold people back from landing a job, so we’re helping people to progress by opening up a wider choice of training opportunities and qualifications for those on Universal Credit to be part of.

"This new flexibility will really help jobseekers across the country to boost their chances of finding fresh roles, particularly in growing sectors, and builds on the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs which is already helping people gain the skills needed to thrive in new employment."

Millions of Brits are to get a pay rise worth £345 a year from this month as the National Living Wage increases.

Plus, Universal Credit payments will rise from next Tuesday – here's how it will affect you.

Here are seven other ways to get help paying bills if you're on Universal Credit.


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