Supporting skills acquisition on the Work Programme

11th December 2012

The Work Programme: What is the role of skills? sets out the case for more skills support for participants as part of, and alongside, the Work Programme. The guide provides case studies and advice on how skills support and training can be delivered by giving insight into the eligibility rules and programmes available.

Currently, not all Work Programme participants have the opportunity to improve their skills, despite the fact that those skills are vital to boosting their chances of finding and remaining in work. NIACE believes this might be because not all Work Programme providers are aware of the full benefits of skills provision, or aware of the full range of skills provision available to Work Programme participants through local learning providers.

David Hughes, the Chief Executive of NIACE said:

“As the case studies in this guide show, through working in partnership with learning providers to deliver skills interventions, it is both vital and possible that Work Programme providers address the skills needs of their participants.

Unemployed people, especially those who’ve been out of work for a long time often have English, maths, ICT, employability and vocational skills needs. For Work Programme participants to have a realistic chance of finding, remaining in and hopefully progressing in work, they need the opportunity to address their skills needs. It is surely short-sighted not to support skills development during a time of high unemployment; having people participating in purposeful learning and skills development when the labour market is so tight would appear to be a simple positive step.

Work Programme providers have been given full control over the approach they take to support their participants into employment and in some cases they are incorporating skills interventions as part of that approach. Sadly, however, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule.

We are calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to commission a survey of the skills needs of Jobcentre Plus customers before their referral to the Work Programme, to publish details of the skills provision accessed by participants and to commission research to ascertain the impact of skills interventions.

I hope that Work Programme providers read this Guide and work in partnership with learning providers and think carefully about how to incorporate skills development into their operations. We know that this will help more people into properly sustained employment and give them the chance to progress in work and go on to further develop their skills.”

The Work Programme: What is the role of skills? sets out the case for more skills support for participants as part of, and alongside, the Work Programme. The guide provides case studies and advice on how skills support and training can be delivered by giving insight into the eligibility rules and programmes available.

Currently, not all Work Programme participants have the opportunity to improve their skills, despite the fact that those skills are vital to boosting their chances of finding and remaining in work. NIACE believes this might be because not all Work Programme providers are aware of the full benefits of skills provision, or aware of the full range of skills provision available to Work Programme participants through local learning providers.

David Hughes, the Chief Executive of NIACE said:

“As the case studies in this guide show, through working in partnership with learning providers to deliver skills interventions, it is both vital and possible that Work Programme providers address the skills needs of their participants.

Unemployed people, especially those who’ve been out of work for a long time often have English, maths, ICT, employability and vocational skills needs. For Work Programme participants to have a realistic chance of finding, remaining in and hopefully progressing in work, they need the opportunity to address their skills needs. It is surely short-sighted not to support skills development during a time of high unemployment; having people participating in purposeful learning and skills development when the labour market is so tight would appear to be a simple positive step.

Work Programme providers have been given full control over the approach they take to support their participants into employment and in some cases they are incorporating skills interventions as part of that approach. Sadly, however, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule.

We are calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to commission a survey of the skills needs of Jobcentre Plus customers before their referral to the Work Programme, to publish details of the skills provision accessed by participants and to commission research to ascertain the impact of skills interventions.

I hope that Work Programme providers read this Guide and work in partnership with learning providers and think carefully about how to incorporate skills development into their operations. We know that this will help more people into properly sustained employment and give them the chance to progress in work and go on to further develop their skills.”