The Works4Me pilot offers support for parents not engaging with existing employment services. In particular, those parents who
A mapping exercise of existing services and consultation with key organisations proved valuable in helping us understand why clients were not engaging with existing employment services, and it was quickly established that the group fell into three distinct categories:
a) sporadic unskilled work experience / some educational qualifications
b) Sporadic unskilled work experience / little / no educational qualifications
c) very little / no work experience / no qualifications / offending history offending / substance abuse.
Category C appeared to be the group least likely to be referred to or offered any support in exploring their employment opportunities. Two main factors appear key to this:
Frontline workers also expressed their concerns regarding the drive to move people into employment without providing the tools to do so. The consensus being that they are being asked to deliver – in some cases – the undeliverable with regard to groups of people who have complex needs and underlying issues that stem from
Consequentially, for many people the concept of ‘getting a job’ is far removed from their current circumstances, and interventions would need to challenge deeply entrenched thinking/behaviours, increase self esteem, and, most importantly, bridge the gap between those who believe that they can progress their lives and those who don't.
Consultation exercise outcomes on why people were not engaging with employment services:
While it is possible to address the first five barriers, the remaining four provide the greatest challenge and required the development of a tailored back-to-work service that meets their needs and allows clients to compete for jobs.
We worked closely with employment agencies and developed the pre-work training programme to bridge the gaps (greater pre-work prep) and fed into existing services.
In order to meet these priorities, each partner organisation (Housing Options, Jobcentre Plus and Sure Start Children’s Centres) agreed objectives, roles and responsibilities.
Take Control, Achieve your Goal (six-day group work programme)
Aim: setting activities that
The course aims to cut through many self-imposed barriers to making life changes. It provides a structured framework that challenges conventional ways of working, introduces concepts that require individuals to understand what they can achieve, the world they live in and how they can (if appropriate) modify behaviour and be inspired to secure employment, attend college and/or training courses. The programme includes work placements.
Aim: a work placement programme that will help people believe it is possible to gain a good job. Delivered in partnership with key organisations, the placements lead to either employment or enhance career prospects and ensure that people considering taking them up understand the long-term benefits to themselves and their families.
It was also important that any organisation providing placement would provide a full range of workplace support to ensure that clients learn about the organisation, the people who use it, how to work within a professional organisation, teamwork and much more. The overall remit would be
There is a cost implication related to staff training, expenses incurred through childcare, etc. We also spent a considerable time with frontline workers training, discussing and promoting a prescriptive programme of support that provides the tools to facilitate/modify behaviour based on the basic principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
In challenging conventional ways of working (and to break the cycle of expectation) we knew we had to come up with something that would require the clients to invest something of themselves. It worked perfectly:
We have a number of lone parents and families who have accessed the service. At present, we have a lone parent (Ms A) with a history of service involvement on a work placement. Her mother is not around and she has taken on the care of her two siblings from her alcoholic father. She has great aspirations, not only for herself, but her family. Until she worked with us, she did not believe that she could start on a path that will lead her into her career of choice: social work (she thought she could only ever work in menial jobs). While she knows this will be a long journey she is determined to be the very best she thought she could not be.
We have lots of other examples as the programme has been designed to pick up people like Ms A, who thought doing something with their lives was so far removed from where they were at.
In conclusion, this programme demonstrates partnership work at its very best. For key organisations in Blackpool to stand firm together to provide opportunities for real work placements to people who otherwise would not get a chance, is truly inspiring. For them to commit without any additional resources is a first, and highlights what can be achieved when we work together. Big society at its best!
Housing Solutions Coordinator
Telephone: 01253 478348