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Free Help For Job Seekers

There's help available if you're searching for a job, you just need to know where to look.


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Free clothes, free dry-cleaning, start up business loans and training for job seekers

Timpson offering job seekers free dry cleaning on interview outfit

High street chain Timpson recently made headlines by offering free dry-cleaning for unemployed people with job interviews.

You do not need a voucher for this, just ask at the counter to get the deal. Timpson confirmed you can get any number of clothing items dry cleaned for free as long as it is for an interview. Find your nearest Timpson store here. Branches across the UK put up posters that read: If you are unemployed and need an outfit cleaned for an interview, we will clean it for free.

Job hunting when you are unemployed is not much fun, but the good news is that Timpson is not the only place to provide free help that can help alleviate some of the pressure.

We have rounded up the very best offers of free assistance, to help you find the job you deserve.

Free clothes

If money has been tight for a while then finding a suitable outfit for an important interview can seem impossible. But you are not on your own.

Smart Works is a charity based in London, Edinburgh and soon Manchester, which offers women on low incomes the chance to redesign their look and presentation before job interviews.

They offer interview clothes, training and even advice from a trained stylist so that you can look professional. They even offer interview technique training, and can discuss particular concerns such as your CV.

There is a similar scheme for men based in London, Suited and Booted.  It provides donated clothing for interviews as well as mentoring and interview advice.

If you are outside of London it is not as easy to get help. However, your local clothes bank may be able to provide something suitable or there may be a local church group or similar charity offering help.

Free training

Standing out from the crowd can be hard without specific qualifications, especially if you are keen to find a vocational job.

The organisation Free2Learn offers free training for unemployed people in everything from close protection to social media to licensed forklift operator.

Courses are offered across the UK, although primarily in cities, and could give you the edge over similar candidates. Many of the courses are geared towards younger job seekers, but plenty are for everyone.

Free help with a CV

There is a lot of online advice about writing the perfect CV, but if you are not very confident at selling yourself then it can feel impossible to even begin.

However, across the country jobs clubs have been springing up where volunteers help job seekers rewrite their CVs and highlight their skills. They can also offer advice on interview technique and available training.

Free help launching your own business

If you are unemployed but think you have a good business idea, you might qualify for some extra cash and support to get it started. The New Enterprise Allowance is a government scheme that provides a weekly allowance, a possible loan and a mentor to help you develop your business idea.

There is more information here but you should ask your local Jobcentre Plus for more information on whether you will qualify.

New Enterprise Allowance can provide money and support to help you start your own business if you are getting certain benefits. Contact Jobcentre Plus to apply or find out more.

Eligibility

You must be aged 18 or over, have a business idea and get one of the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support as a lone parent
  • Employment and Support Allowance, if you are in the work-related activity group

A Jobcentre Plus adviser can refer you to the scheme as soon as you get a qualifying benefit.

You do not qualify if you are part of the Work Programme, but you can still get help setting up a business elsewhere.

Help you can get

Finance

You could:

The loan has to be paid back, the allowance does not.

Any money you get does not affect your Housing Benefit, tax credits, Income Tax, or Access to Work grant.

Support

You could get:

  • a mentor to help you develop your business idea and write a business plan
  • ongoing support from a mentor in the early months of trading

How it works

A specialist will assess your business idea and if it has potential:

  • you will be signed up to the scheme and get a business mentor
  • your mentor will help you write a business plan

You will be able to claim financial support if:

  • your business plan is approved
  • you start working at your business for 16 hours or more per week

The Department for Work and Pensions has more information about the New Enterprise Allowance.

Additional information

The Jobcentre Plus adviser will explain:

  • how New Enterprise Allowance works
  • who will assess the business idea
  • who provides the practical support
  • what Jobcentre Plus expects from you
  • how much the allowance will be and how it will be paid
  • about the loan
  • what will happen when the allowance ends

Read the guidance on back to work schemes if you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

Contact your local Jobcentre Plus for more information about New Enterprise Allowance.

Start Up Loans

Loans and mentoring for people over 18 years old who are looking to start a business. Backed by the Business Bank. Find out more

Eligibility

To apply for a loan you must be:

  • 18 years old or older when you apply
  • Living in the UK

Additional information

Start Up Loans is a government-funded scheme that funds and mentors entrepreneurs.

You will have a delivery partner (assigned by the Start Up Loans Company) who will help you develop a business plan. This will be assessed and funding decided by the Start Up Loans Company.

You will get a low-cost unsecured loan, business mentoring and a range of business support products if your plan is approved.

You must pay the loan back within 5 years, and you will pay a fixed rate of interest. Capital repayment holidays are available, but you must pay interest each month.

Free childcare

If you are on a low income and are receiving certain benefits, including Jobseekers Allowance, then you are entitled to 15 hours free childcare a week as soon as your child reaches two. That compares to three in the rest of the UK.


 

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