Employment and employability: the difference we make

Creating Enterprise

The difference we make

  • Our funding has supported over 181,000 people through eight programmes since 2010. It enables charities and community groups across the UK to support people on their journey to employment, building on the trust that local communities have in them. We also help employers see the untapped potential in people who may not have worked before, and support communities to diversify their local economies.
  • The employment outcomes of our programmes compare well against comparator initiatives with similar target groups. At 30%, the employment rate achieved by Making It Work was comparable to the outcomes of similar employment initiatives in Scotland (15-40%). Talent Match research suggests that 58% of respondents had entered employment in the previous 12-month period, compared to 42% of matched Labour Force Survey respondents.
  • Participation brings positive benefits for individuals, with many leaving better equipped to get a job, even if they haven’t secured one yet. Nearly a third (31%) of all Building Better Opportunities (BBO) participants have learned new life skills and 27% have developed work skills that help them to succeed once they are in work. And the positive impacts on people’s confidence and wellbeing help them to make the most of available training, volunteering and employment opportunities, as well as increasing their life satisfaction.
  • There are wider societal benefits too. The economic value of the employment outcomes for participants in the Making It Work programme in Scotland has been calculated at £11.5 million, with wellbeing outcomes providing an additional £3 million in social value. Our largest employment programme for young people, Talent Match, has created at least £3.08 of public benefit for every £1 spent.
  • The impact of our funding goes beyond individuals, contributing to new research in the sector and improving the way other services, like Jobcentres and mental health services, support people.
Our funding has supported over 181,000 people through eight programmes since 2010.

How the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) supports people who are out of work

The VCS complements mainstream provision, often supporting people who may need more help, for longer, or in more flexible formats than other services may be able to offer.

Getting started

  • Many VCS organisations base their employment services in places people are familiar with, like community and youth centres, knowing that some find formal environments intimidating.
  • It can be difficult to find the time to get to know people; to find out what’s really going on in their lives, their ambitions and talents. Our grantholders really focus on this important step, recognising its importance when working with people who are the least likely to access support. Simple things help here, like starting with conversations rather than form-filling, and having the first meeting over a coffee rather than over a computer.
  • Equal opportunities are at the heart of our employment funding. Funding employment services that are led by people from the communities they support, like The Limehouse Project and Intercultural Youth Scotland, are an important part of this – as is supporting organisations which work in effective, fair partnership with grassroots and community groups.
The positive impacts on people’s confidence and wellbeing help them to make the most of available training, volunteering and employment opportunities, as well as increasing their life satisfaction.

Delivering employment support

  • The route from unemployment to a job can be long. What’s important is that people feel ownership of this journey, and that services show people that they matter by being flexible, adapting support to what’s going on for that person. Setbacks are part of life, so people should be able to return or stay as long as needed.
  • One-to-one support is at the core of the employment journey. Usually this is based around a dedicated key worker who will form a trusted relationship with the person, and will be with them throughout. This is something that the VCS does well, going the extra mile to, for example, accompany people to their first job interviews. Talent Match Plus Liverpool is currently developing a tailored qualification for the key worker role, recognising that it’s a vocation requiring training, recognition and support.
  • VCS groups are increasingly working together, and with public and private partners, to create integrated services. These can address and support people with both work and non-work issues without having to signpost them to other services. Embedding mental health support in employment projects is particularly important, recognising it as an issue affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Lots of people benefit from simple changes in their lives to improve their employability. This might be getting money to buy work clothes, acquiring skills that many of us take for granted like budgeting or using public transport. Usually these require only small amounts of money, but can make a huge difference.
  • Key workers can identify priorities, so they get the right support for people at the right time. This might mean dealing with other issues before thinking about employment, like housing or addiction. For others, the job is the ‘hook’, and it’s only later that issues in the background can be addressed. Peer support and group work can be important too, to help people to create connections and networks, and avoid developing a dependency on their key worker.

Setting people up to succeed

  • If you’ve never worked before, it’s difficult to know what it will be like when you start. That’s why many projects help people understand what’s expected of them in the workplace, like how to manage time and deal with difficult situations.
  • But lots of things can affect people’s ability to stay in or progress within work, like working relationships and ongoing personal issues. This is why many of the groups we fund continue to help participants three to six months into their first or new job.
  • Appropriate support should be available for employers too, to help them understand what they, their supervisors and other employees can do to make the transition into the workplace as smooth as possible. Staff at Accelerate, a free employment service in Warwickshire, have worked with employees to create workplace circles of support to help participants settle into a job and sustain employment.