National Careers Week – IAG in employment support

As part of our series of posts to support National Careers Week, we take a look at the role of IAG in employment support.

You can find out more about National Careers Week by clicking here.

IAG in employment support

During the last year or so, CASCAiD has been increasing its work with private, public and voluntary sector organisations which are delivering initiatives designed to help people get back into employment.

So with record unemployment, what is the role of information, advice and guidance (IAG) in these types of projects and initiatives?

The answer is sustainability: enabling clients to find a job which leads to long-term employment which benefits them and the wider community. This can only be achieved with good quality IAG.

Some would argue that employment support should be about finding people a job: any job. And it can be challenging for advisers working with unemployed clients to strike a balance between helping clients to get a job which meets their immediate needs, ie, earning a wage, and helping to guide them into sustainable employment. Underemployment is very often seen as a result of addressing the immediate need. However, with greater guidance it can be the first step into a brand new career.

If you put someone into a job which they are not motivated by, suited to, or that they do not see the long-term benefit of, they are quite likely to only stay in the position for a short space of time. This often means that they return to unemployment and again become dependent on benefits.

It has other far-reaching impacts. That person has taken a job opportunity which another candidate may have succeeded in long-term. There is also the negativity that it creates with employers. We all know that recruiting and training new employees is a costly business and if they leave shortly after without the employer gaining real benefit from them, it casts doubt in the employer’s mind about who they take on next.

This is why we have always believed that guidance should be a key element of employment and welfare to work initiatives. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on analysing a person’s suitability for the role, not only in terms of whether they can do the job but how well their motivations, interests and skill set match. This is vital in ensuring sustainable employment.

IAG also has an important role to plan in enabling people to develop career planning skills, helping them to be prepared for future challenges and career development opportunities.

Greater emphasis on sustainable employment should mean that there is greater guidance that focuses on matching the right person to the right role in the right organisation, rather than simply trying to reduce unemployment figures by getting people into any job. Adult Directions can play a vital role in analysing a person’s suitability for the role in terms of how well their motivations, interests and skill set match. Only when this is taken into account can sustainable employment be achieved.

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