UK jobseekers are being given six months free broadband to help remove barriers to employment for those who cannot access digital resources.
The programme, led by TalkTalk and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has been taken nationwide after a successful trial in the North West.
TalkTalk is now rolling out the scheme to all Jobcentre Plus centres, with the communications company providing referral codes to the DWP, who distributes them to eligible customers.
The customers then call TalkTalk directly using a dedicated number to redeem these codes. The DWP is responsible for identifying and referring participants based on their needs.
Mims Davies, Minister for Employment, said: “We want to support jobseekers in any way we can on their journey to securing employment, which includes levelling up opportunities by making sure they are digitally connected and can access the full range of support offered by our Plan for Jobs and our JobHelp website.”
The trial in North West England resulted in people securing new employment as well as undertaking training opportunities. TalkTalk is now rolling out the scheme on a national scale to all Jobcentre Plus work coaches to offer jobseekers.
Daniel Kasmir, chief people & procurement officer at TalkTalk said: “We believe that reliable broadband is a right not a privilege.
“However, many people across the UK are struggling to access to the internet, with the effects of the pandemic leading to the number of Universal Credit claimants doubling within a year.
“The successful trial of this scheme in the North West demonstrates the value of broadband to those seeking jobs.
“Working with the DWP to roll this scheme out nationally supports our mission to democratise the internet and bring affordable, high-quality connectivity to everyone, helping to erase the UK’s digital divide.”