The rail industry is raising awareness of its Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to help more people get back to work, as new figures show that take-up has dropped by nearly a third since the start of the pandemic.
The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card gives holders a 50% discount on journeys across Britain and anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s) can apply through their Work Coach and local Jobcentre Plus.
Prior to the pandemic, over 1.1m journeys were made using the card – however that number dropped to 722,900 between March 2020 and October 2021. Employment stats out today show job vacancies hitting a record high of 1.17m, meaning that hundreds of thousands more could benefit and slash their travel costs as they search for their next opportunity.
Over 62% of journeys taken using the card are in London and the South East, contributing to the lion’s share of over £1.5m in savings made by jobseekers travelling by rail during the pandemic.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents Britain’s train companies, is working with Jobcentre Plus teams to further promote the card to their local areas, as well as writing to politicians across Britain asking them for their support in raising awareness in their respective regions. While rail isn’t a suitable option for all job seekers, some areas such as Wales and the North East account for fewer than 1% of all discounted journeys made during the pandemic.
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group, said:
“Over 700,000 journeys were made during the pandemic by people using the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card but with the world of work opening back up and new opportunities becoming available, we want to encourage even more people to take advantage as they look to secure new jobs. The railway is a key part of Britain’s clean and fair recovery, and this discount card is yet another way that train companies are helping the country to bounce back.”
Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said:
“We’re committed to breaking down any barrier preventing jobseekers from accessing the vital training and employment opportunities they need to get back in work and back on track.
“Through our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs and the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, we’re helping jobseekers across the country to cut costs and raise their job prospects as we push to build back better.”
Anna Ulewicz from Sutton used the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to get her career back on track
After losing her job in the pandemic, Anna was looking for a fresh career start. Always interested in teaching, Anna’s Jobcentre Plus Work Coach Simi helped her get onto a teacher training course in Croydon – a quick 20-minute train ride away from her home. The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card helped make Anna’s commute affordable – cutting her travel cost in half – and directly contributed to her landing a new full-time role as a teacher.
“Without the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card I wouldn’t have been able to attend the course or get my new job. The process of getting the card was super easy and I really appreciated the extra help to fund my travel costs. I’d encourage every jobseeker to speak to their Work Coach about it!”