The latest figures for Midlothian reveal a nine per cent increase in the claimant count in the past year.
In September 2018 there were 1,465 claimants, up 125 from September last year. This rise has been put down to the changeover to Universal Credit, with the number of claimants still down by 20 per cent since 2010.
Meanwhile, Cath Davidson, DWP partnership manager for Midlothian, revealed more about the local job market, including the jobs boost from the soon to be opened McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant at Hardengreen, and the Jobcentre’s recent Disability Confident event.
She said: “We have been working closely with McDonald’s HR team on the recruitment for the new restaurant opening at Tesco Hardengreen. Our staff have been up-skilling customers on what McDonald’s are looking for and we have been helping them apply online in the jobcentres.
“Additionally, we held a McDonald’s event in Dalkeith Jobcentre on November 8 with 34 customers booked into two sessions. The management team of the new restaurant delivered these sessions, with DWP staff on hand to help customers immediately after the event.
“They are looking for 100 new employees and have already recruited up to 35 staff members. There will be plenty more recruitment going on locally and within the jobcentres.
“The Disability Confident event we held last month which was opened by Christine Grahame, was a resounding success and employer interest since the event has surged. We have had a number of new employers pledging support to Level 1 and the Jobcentre team are following up on all of these to increase disability awareness and recruitment for Midlothian.
“Our DWP training event for customers with barriers to employment was delivered in Dalkeith Corn Exchange, the event was hugely successful.
“Many of our customers attained certificates in first aid, customer service level 2, food safety level 2 and health and safety, some of these went straight into interviews with employers. The overall confidence and motivation of these participants improved and we will be offering further support to move them into employment or further training. Some of these went straight into interviews with employers.
“The overall confidence and motivation of these participants improved and we will be offering further support to move them into employment or further training.”