Yesterday, Suzette Tonks (Sales Executive) and I attended the ‘Partners in Action’ conference in London. This was hosted by the Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion, and was designed to bring together a wide range of organisations looking to work together to deliver the coalition government’s Work Programme.
The Work Programme will be the coalition government’s main focus for reforming the UK’s welfare to work provision. It will be available nationally from the summer of 2011. Attending the conference were a number of prime contractors such as Remploy and Ingues. There were also a wide range of skills and training organisations looking to share best practice and network with prime contractors.
Some of the key speakers at the event included Rt Hon. Chris Grayling, Minister for Employment, Dave Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive of the Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion and Martin Dunford OBE, Chair of the Association of Learning Providers. There were also a number of seminars on industry-specific employment, such as construction, creative industries and logistics. These seminars allowed delegates to share best practice in an industry-specific context.
One of the key messages from the conference was the need for sustainable employment. This suggested that rather than trying to find a Work Programme client the first job available, it would be better to find out the type of career they are interested in. After identifying this, the client could then be referred to a specific educational/training organisation to help develop the skills needed to enter their career of choice. It is hoped that by finding a Work Programme client a career they are interested in, they would be more likely to stay in full-time employment.
One of the main reasons for attending the conference was to ensure that developments to our careers matching tool, Adult Directions, will be beneficial to the Work Programme. CASCAiD believes that Adult Directions will be a very useful tool for many of the Work Programme’s prime or sub contractors. Over the next couple of months, we will be adding a number of new features to Adult Directions to make it even more appropriate for Work Programme clients.
Adult Directions is an online guidance tool which provides clients with a list of careers suggestions based on interests, skills, education level and health. It is used by many employment and training organisations throughout the UK as a cost-effective and time-saving resource to inspire clients to look at the career opportunities available to them. Further information about Adult Directions is available on the CASCAiD website.
I am interested to hear your views on the Work Programme. Do you believe that enough is being done to ensure Work Programme clients are being equipped with the right skills to achieve sustainable employment?