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The Department for Work and Pension (DWP) has been trialling new technology over the last few months to connect job seekers with local roles.
As part of a £1.3m investment in new technologies for job seekers, the government has partnered with three firms specialising in job-matching artificial intelligence (AI) – FutureFitAI, Bayes Impact and UK jobs board Adzuna.
The technology being used works by asking people looking for work a series of questions, building an online profile. According to the DWP, the software from the three firms makes intelligent suggestions based on this information and live data about the local jobs market.
The new system, which is being tested by 20 jobcentres, involves partnering with FutureFitAI, Bayes Impact and Adzuna using AI to target areas with the highest ratio of vacancies to unemployed.
Future Fit provides AI-powered tools that act as a “GPS for careers” designed to support individuals from career path exploration, to reskilling, to job placement. AI career coach “Bob”, from Bayes Impact, provides personalised action plans for job seekers to overcome barriers that it identifies.
The DWP said that for the trial, Bayes Impact is using additional labour market information to allow job seekers to identify jobs in their area that are sustainable and future-proof.
The third application, Adzuna Career Paths, uses data drawn from CVs and the jobs market and is designed to help people explore new career development opportunities based on their current skills and experience
Speaking at the start of the trial, employment minister Mims Davies said: “Our Plan for Jobs is delivering in the digital age, and we’re supporting our work coaches with the smartest technology out there to help get every job seeker – at any age or stage – into work faster.
“We’re investing over £1m into improving our services as we push to help get half a million people into work by the summer, helping them boost their income and progress.”
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In 2019, the DWP developed a prototype skills recommendation engine, inspired by e-commerce sites such as Amazon, designed to help job seekers find similar roles based on their skills, experience and salary.
Dai Hillier, job match project manager, UC product space at the DWP, told Computer Weekly: “We don’t share any data from our systems into the suppliers’. They all have their own way to generate the information they need.”
A random group of claimants are selected from a control group and referred to the suppliers. The loose relationship with the three suppliers means the DWP is able to see how many people are getting through the job vacancies process.
“The three firms can analyse how job vacancy journeys work end-to-end and provide the DWP with this data,” said Hillier. “Eventually, we hope we can track how well someone is doing and whether they are moving closer to the labour market.”