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TalkTalk to offer job seekers six months of free broadband

National programme to tackle digital exclusion has been launched in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions

UK job seekers can now apply for six months of free broadband to help them find new work opportunities.

A national programme launched by TalkTalk and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is aiming to tackle digital exclusion and remove barriers to employment. 

The new scheme takes the form of a voucher that gives unemployed people across the UK free access to "high-quality" broadband that can be used to find new jobs or relevant online training courses.

It's a "no-contract" voucher that provides six months of TalkTalk's Fibre35 broadband, which has no data usage limits. At the end of the six-month period, the recipients can choose to roll onto a paid contract with TalkTalk, or cancel the service without any additional costs or sign-up fees, according to the internet provider.

Although job centres have remained open to support the most vulnerable in society throughout the pandemic, much of the training and job support it offered was shifted online, making an internet connection even more important.

"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," Mims Davies, the minister for employment, said. 

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TalkTalk and the DWP claim that a trial of the voucher in Greater Manchester and Cheshire during the second lockdown in October last week was successful, with people securing new employment and also undertaking training opportunities. IT Pro contacted TalkTalk for more details about the trial.  

"We believe that reliable broadband is a right not a privilege," Daniel Kasmir, chief people & procurement officer at TalkTalk said. "However, many people across the UK are struggling to access 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."

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