Expert employability support for jobseekers.

Work Routes helps economically inactive people to start working

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Work Routes is a free support service that helps unemployed people start working.

The service is an expansion of the Department for Work and Pension’s Work and Health Programme designed specifically to support people who are economically inactive. This expansion may sometimes be referred to as WHP Pioneer, which is a phase of Universal Support.

The service is available in North East England and South London.


Eligibility and referral is at the discretion of DWP.

Some of the reasons jobseekers might be eligible can include:

  1. They are economically inactive (unemployed and not in the UC IWSR or JSA. Claiming other benefits, or no benefits, means they are eligible); or:
  2. They have a health condition or disability and need more support than can be provided within standard Jobcentre or other available services; or
  3. They fit into one of the following groups:
  • An ex-offender (someone who has completed a custodial
  • sentence or a community sentence), or an offender (someone who is serving a community sentence)
  • A carer or ex-carer
  • A homeless person
  • A former member of HM Armed Forces
  • A member of the the HM Armed Forces reserves
  • A partner of current or former Armed Forces personnel
  • A person for whom a drug/alcohol dependency (including a history of) presents a significant barrier to employment
  • A care leaver
  • A refugee
  • A young person identified as being involved or at risk of being involved in gangs or serious violence
  • A victim of domestic violence
  • An Afghan Resettler
  • A Ukrainian Refugee

How it works

Work Routes provides additional support that is distinct and additional to that available through Jobcentre. It helps people with multiple barriers to work and/or a disability or health condition, using integration with other local community services.

The service provides a five-step approach based on the British Association for Supported Employment's ‘Place and Train model’. The service is entirely voluntary for all those taking part.

  • Engagement

    Outreach and onboarding activity to provide timely and supportive access to the service to those who would benefit from using it.

  • Vocational profiling assessment

    Our Getting to Know You sessions with an expert Employment Adviser assess individual work aspirations, skills, experience and personal circumstances to inform an Action Plan for finding work.

  • Job finding

    Our support includes:

    • Employability help: CV development, job goal identification, help with job searching, access to employers, funding for job search activity and Online Careers Centre for 24/7 guidance and development.
    • Barrier removal: skills training, health and wellbeing support, money management advice and integration with local specialist community service.
  • Employer engagement

    Utilising Reed in Partnership’s extensive employer relationships to ensure a wide range of appropriate vacancies are available to participants.

    We are a Disability Confident Leader and provide a full package of support, including help with inclusive recruitment practices, onboarding support and workplace or role adjustments.

  • In-work support

    Up to six months of in-work support is available, including development of an In-Work Action Plan and weekly contact with an Employment Support Officer.

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