If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, you must take part in certain schemes if you are advised to do so by a personal adviser. Your benefit may be affected if you refuse to do so or leave a scheme before completing it. The Work Experience programme is different in that it is voluntary to join, but it becomes compulsory after you have accepted an offer of a place.
If you refuse to take part in, or leave a compulsory scheme before completing it, you may suffer a benefit sanction. This means that you will have your Jobseeker’s Allowance suspended for two weeks in the first instance.
If you go to a Jobcentre Plus office to find work, you will be interviewed by a personal adviser who will help draw up a jobseeker’s agreement. This details the steps you should take to find work and forms the basis of your interviews with the personal adviser.
If you have not found work after 13 weeks, your personal adviser will review the situation with you. The interview may take place on a day other than the unemployed person’s usual attendance day. Attendance at the interview is compulsory.
As a result of the 13week interview, you may:
- be put in touch with local employers with vacancies
- have your jobseeker’s agreement reviewed to reflect the fact that you will widen the range of jobs you will look for
- be issued with a direction aimed at improving your prospects of finding work
- be referred to a scheme or programme.
If you do not attend the 13week review or fail to act on your personal adviser's suggestions, you may suffer a benefit sanction.
If you are still out of work after 26 weeks, you will be asked to attend a Restart interview with a Jobcentre Plus Office personal adviser. Attendance is compulsory and failure to attend could affect your benefit.
The Work Experience programme
The Work Experience programme is for people aged 16 to 24. It aims to give you experience of a working environment and lasts for between two and eight weeks.
If you're already claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) and take part in the programme, you will still get JSA and must continue to actively seek work as normal.
Although Work Experience is voluntary to join, it becomes compulsory once you have accepted a place. If you are 18 or over, this means that if you fail to attend on the first day, lose your place due to misconduct at any time, or leave after the first week, without a good reason, your JSA can be stopped. You can leave during the first week without your benefit being affected, unless you fail to attend on the first day or lose your place due to misconduct. If you are aged 16 or 17 and you are a benefit claimant, your benefit will not be affected if you leave a Work Experience placement before completing it.
Citizens Advice Bureau