Pembrokeshire Wilko staff who lost their jobs as the retail giant went into administration have been given advice on how to access nearly £7,000 of potential funding and many have been actively seeking new employment.

The Department of Work and Pensions in Pembrokeshire said that Wilko employees were given advice on accessing ReAct funding when the Pembrokeshire Employer and Partnership team and Careers Wales attended all Wilko stores to support staff affected by redundancies.

Staff were also advised of the benefits they are eligible to claim through DWP via jobcentres.

“It was good to hear that in the current buoyant jobs market, many ex Wilco staff have been actively seeking alternative employment in other retail outlets,” said Fred Hatton of Pembrokeshire’s Employer and Partnership Team.

“The message to all jobseekers at this time of year is that a great many of our retail sector employers increase staff for the Christmas period with many of those being offered further employment on completion.”

Mr Hatton added that the DWP itself was recruiting and planned to employ 20 more Work Coach staff into Jobcentres in south west Wales, in addition to up to 153 Universal Credit Review staff recently advertised for the Pembroke Dock Service Centre.

Pembrokeshire’s Jobcentres continue to host a full range of activities that bring jobseekers and employers together with a focus on helping those employers with live vacancies.

“Jobcentre work coaches and the employer and partnership teams are making a difference to the lives of jobseekers and changing their lives for the better,” said Mr Hatton.

“Furthermore, all this work results in boosting the economy of not just our county but also of Wales and the whole of the UK.”

He added that Pembrokeshire’s tourism and hospitality sector was vital to the local economy and that the DWP efforts to help jobseekers into jobs in this sector have been a priority.

“A great many of our large employers constantly have live vacancies in order to cope with the natural churn of those employees moving on to pastures new, some into further education, others into different work sectors in order to advance and earn more,” he said.

“Thus, those seeking employment at any time of the year, should not become despondent if they do not see their ideal job being advertised.

“Persistence is the key, jobseekers should keep looking and consider working in a different role initially in order to gain confidence and skills for the next step in their career ladder.”

Benefit claimants are advised to ask their work coach what training is available. Those who are not benefit claimants can seek advice from Careers Wales.

Support is available to everyone whether they are leaving education, 50 Plus, have a health condition or progress in work. Importantly job seeking parents on Universal Credit, can now get extra financial help through increased childcare payments.

The NHS Hywel Dda UHB Future Workforce team also recently attended Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven and Haverfordwest Jobcentres and delivered face to face group information presentation sessions to jobseekers about NHS recruitment, work experience, volunteering and apprenticeships opportunities.

These were extremely successful and further sessions are being planned at regular intervals.

“A lot of work is being undertaken in Pembrokeshire to bring together employers advertising jobs and those customers who are seeking work,” said Mr Hatton.

“Government statistics show that all our efforts are bearing fruit: Pembrokeshire has seen a drop in claimants to benefits by four per cent since this time last year. For our county’s age 50+ benefit claimants, the unemployed figure is down by 16 per cent since this time last year.