James Franklin, Reporter
Thursday, December 27, 2012
JOB hunters across North Somerset will be able to travel for free on buses as part of a new scheme.
Bus For Jobs will be introduced in January to help people get to job interviews, training courses and other opportunities to gain employment.
Bus firm First has signed up to introduce the national scheme throughout the district from January 1-31, and it will also be operated on North Somerset Council-supported routes on evenings and weekends.
People aged 18 and over who are not in employment, education or training can use the scheme to travel for free when they present their JobCentre Plus Travel Discount Card to the driver.
The cards are available from JobCentre Plus, and to apply for one you must receive jobseekers’ allowance, incapacity benefit, employment and support allowance or income support, and must be engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser about returning to work.
It is hoped the scheme will help the thousands of people in North Somerset who are currently claiming job seekers’ allowance. In November, the figure totalled 3,220 people, 2.5 per cent of the district’s population.
It is part of a nationwide initiative which now includes more than 70 per cent of bus routes through England, Wales and Scotland aimed at making it easier for people, especially young people, to get back into employment.
Although most local service providers in the country have signed up, long-distance bus services do not form part of the initiative.
North Somerset Council’s deputy leader and executive member for transport and economic development, Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, said: “This scheme will offer help for those who may need to get to job interviews or perhaps training courses.
“Initiatives like this which can help make our young people’s job prospects brighter is to be welcomed.”