New research makes the case for specialist support for Lone Parents trying to get back to work.

A new piece of research provides damning evidence that Lone Parents can get little support when looking for work. And that those who find a job often have to take low paid work.

Research carried out by the University of the West of England on behalf of the Single Parent Action Network, found that out of the 50 single parents they followed looking for work, not one gained employment as a result of their interaction with the job centre.

Parents who did secure a job through existing networks such as friends or previous employers, took on low-paid jobs with few prospects, where their previous qualifications and skills were not likely to be used.

The report, A Longitudinal Qualitative Study of the Journeys of Single Parents on Job Seekers Allowance has some excellent recommendations for people across the Welfare to Work Sector.

They call for:

  • support for training programmes to further single parents’ advancement in the labour market, including training for parents before they go on Job Seeker’s Allowance;
  • Jobcentre Plus playing a more proactive role in encouraging employers to design quality part-time jobs and the piloting of a job-share register;
  • a change in policy so parents can access self-employment training when they first go on Job Seeker’s Allowance;
  • training Jobcentre Plus staff in their legislative responsibilities towards children and asking the children’s commissioner to investigate changes in policy and practice within Jobcentre Plus to improve children’s well-being;
  • the Work and Pensions Select Committee to investigate the treatment of single parents in the unemployment benefits system to make sure that the services offered are better tailored to address single parents’ specific needs.
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