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Routes to Work

In response the high levels of economic inactivity in Tees Valley, in February 2017, the Combined Authority were invited to submit an application for Innovation funding to pilot a major new approach to support those most distant from the labour market to prepare for and to access work. The Department for Work and Pensions awarded £6m to the Combined Authority to deliver the Pilot.  The Combined Authority Cabinet agreed to provide £1.5m as match funding for this pilot, making a total of £7.5m.

The Routes to Work Pilot will provide holistic support from a range of service providers for those unemployed or economically inactive individuals aged 30+, across the Combined Authority area, who are deemed to need the most help and support to move back into work. This includes many elements with the primary focus being the individual, it provides the opportunity to identify and address multiple barriers that some people face when trying to access work and will not solely focus on providing training courses.

The Pilot is monitored by the Combined Authority and delivered by the five Tees Valley Local Authorities. Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Borough Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

The eligibility criteria is;

In all cases the customer must be aged 30 or over, not be in work and either;

  • Disengaged from the benefits system or:
  • Receiving benefit

Plus fall within any of 1-4 below:

1)            Long term (2yrs +) unemployed /inactive benefits.

2)            Claim to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) rejected.

3)            In the ESA support group (health/disability).

4)            Have been out of work for min 13 weeks and be unlikely to find work in the next 12 months, due to having significant or multiple barriers to work. This could include:

Ex-offenders, Health/MH or disability, BME/ESOL needed, SEND, Drug/alcohol dependencies, 50+, Lone parents, Returners to the labour market, Roma/travellers, Refugees, Carers, Care Leavers, Homeless, Ex Forces.


For more information please contact your local Routes to Work Office;

Darlington – Telephone – 01325 406170, email –

Hartlepool – Telephone – 01429 284482, email –

Middlesbrough – Telephone – 01642 811400, email –

Redcar and Cleveland – Telephone – 01287 612563, email –

Stockton-on-Tees – Telephone – 01642 528107, email –