Frequently Asked Questions

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I've heard that the minimum wage has recently gone up. What are the new rates?

You are right ..........the rates went up on the 1st october 2014 The updated National Minimum Wage rates are as follows:

  Age:  21 + years:                          £6.50

  Age: 18-20 years:                        £5.13

   Under 18 years:                          £3.79

   Apprentice:                                 £2.73*  This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 years of age

Personal Independence Payments is the new benefit that is being introduced to replace all health related benefits. It is being introduced over a period of time and everyone (including those on lifetime benefits) will be reassessed. This will no longer be based on your physical condition but will look at what you are able to do and the support you need to carry out daily activities.

You can check out the timescales and find out more from  

Citizens Advice Bureau

 or contact your local advice centre


I would suggest you start with the official Universal Jobmatch and a couple of the major sites……one of   the easiest to use is CV Library. You could also look for industry specific sites, recruitment agencies and individual company sites. 

You need to check the sites regularly and where possible register your CV, so you get regular updates automatically,

I’ve just been working on a list of sites so if you need any further help get in touch  and see how we operate.

Preparation for interviews

I would be surprised if you didn’t get nervous, but don't let the nerves take over. Here are some tips on preparation and hints to help on the day!                            

Beforehand:  Research the company and job role, so you know what they do and what will be required of you. It’s easy using the Internet, Facebook and Linked In or use the Library. Check out the routeso you know where you are going and the journey time. This reduces stress on the day, and ensures you arrive in good time. Sort out the clothes you will wear, making sure they are appropriate for the situation, are clean, well pressed and make you feel good! Go through your Application /CV so you check the information and can give practical examples to demonstrate your skills and experience                                                                                                                                    

The Interview: Take a notepad /clipboard to remind you of what to say and questions to ask. Check this over while you are waiting or even during the interview if necessary. If you get very nervous, say so e.g. “Please forgive me, I get really nervous at interviews - I’m not like this at work”. Interviewers, generally, want to see you at your best rather than trying to trip you up! If you don’t understand a question, say so and ask for clarification. This gives you thinking time                                                                           

Afterwards: If you don’t get the job, you should always get feedback on how you have done, so you can move forward positively.  You may find that you didn’t have sufficient experience, or qualifications etc which you can then look at gaining 

If you need further help  get in touch , we could do a mock interview or talk through possible questions      

Completing application forms, and filling in section on supporting information

If you don’t fill in this section you might as well not bother applying!

The Supporting Information section gives you the opportunity to show how you are suitable for the job and how you match the Person Specification. You cannot assume an employer will be able to “guess” your suitability from your previous working experience.

 Additionally application forms are generally pre sifted by other staff and scored against specific criteria before reaching the decision maker.


Application Forms........Details about the person specification and the importance of responding to the criteria outlined

The Person Specification contains the detailed criteria required for a particular job role.

 All candidates will be measured against these criteria. So when you are applying for a job you need to show how you can meet these criteria by quoting examples from your previous work history or life experience.  Negotiation skills could be evidence by detailing a work related episode where 2 colleagues were arguing and how you resolved the situation but could equally relate to family members, friends etc

You need to show how your previous experience relates to all the criteria. If your experience does not meet the majority of the criteria it is unlikely that you will be considered for the role

In that case you need professional advice to discuss the sort of jobs you are applying for and/or ways to improve your level of experience


Reasons for signing on and sources of information on benefits

All the more reason to sign on as it will give you access to support with your job search, which may take some time in the current economic climate.Also you may be eligible for specific support aimed at helping  you back into work

If you have just come out of work  you will  be entitled to  Contribution based Jobseekers Allowance which  is based on how much National Insurance you have paid in the last two tax years.

The tax year starts on the 6th April and finishes on the 5th of April (12 months). You can receive this for up to 182 days.

 You can get further information information from

Where do I go to make an initial claim for Job Seekers Allowance?

You used to be able to do this but now you make your initial claim eater  by 

 Phoning   0800 055 6688 

Textphone: 0800 023 4888    between  8am to 6pm Monday to Friday

 or you can apply  online

Whichever way you make contact, you will have an appointment arranged at the Jobcentre Plus, where you will confirm the answers you have given, and provide proof of your identity. You will also see an Adviser who will discuss the terms of your Job Seekers Agreement with you and will give you details about signing on.