Shared by Alison Smith, Angus Council
Name of Organisation/Project
Project name: EmployabiliTAY
Run in Angus by Angus Council Skills Team – a busy front line service that supports unemployed and under-employed clients back into meaningful work via a variety of tailored approaches.
This client group have faced various barriers which are preventing them from progressing towards employment or further education.
EmployabiliTAY is funded by Scottish Government.
The project is run in conjunction with partners from Dundee City and Perth & Kinross councils. EmployabiliTAY will examine the efficacy of a tripartite approach to employability by the three Tayside Local Authorities and assess whether a regional integrated approach can produce better results.
Each Local Authority runs their own courses using the same format, training materials and partner organisations. Clients from these local authorities are eligible to attend in whichever area is most suitable for them.
Most clients are referred to the course from Job Centre Plus or Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
The course itself involves partners from a variety of other organisations, including SDS, NHS, JCP, Angus Council Finance and Housing, Welfare Rights and the third sector. Other private organisations are also invited in, including local employers discussing job vacancies and expectations.
The EmployabiliTAY project was established 1st October 2017 and is anticipated to end on 31st March 2019.
The aims of the project are to improve the employability and rate of sustained job outcomes for people across Tayside and Angus who, through personal barriers and circumstances, require a range of well-co-ordinated support.
The project aims to facilitate transformational change, with innovative approaches which combine public service support and active input from NHS, SDS, Housing Services, Criminal Justice, Welfare Rights, the third sector and employers.
The expected outcome is to achieve improved participation of those furthest from the job market and from the most deprived areas across Tayside and Angus, whilst at the same time supporting local businesses by providing them with well trained staff. Positive destinations for the client would include employment, self-employment or further education.
All of the clients recruited to the programme are facing multiple barriers, for example mental health issues, literacy, poverty, homelessness and lack of qualifications/previous work experience.
One specific example is the increased number of clients with criminal backgrounds referred, due to ever improving links and joint-working with criminal justice colleagues. These clients face the additional barrier of their conviction as well as the potential stigma attached, when applying for employment.
The individuals may have been unemployed for some time and may come from a family with a history of long-term unemployment. Addressing and changing habits as well as attendance and continued communication can sometimes be a challenge.
The clients have access to many opportunities through this course including confidence-building, training, CV writing and interview skills, funding for interview clothes, improved networks and introduction to local employers.
Inclusive Growth Outcomes sought
The EmployabiliTAY model supports clients to achieve their goals by working with them holistically. By examining all barriers, and working in a person-centred way clients have a better chance of working out their work goals, accessing the correct training and hearing from employers re employee expectations. Through access to appropriate jobs and understanding what employers are looking for, these jobs become sustainable for the client, the employer and the local economy. By working with groups of people who have been struggling and in need of additional guidance, the holistic and supportive model ensures they are not excluded and instead have access to opportunities. Having the awareness of the local organisations available to support them additionally provides clients with specific ‘back-up’ when difficult issues arise, therefore increasing resilience to certain barriers.
The EmployabiliTAY model supports clients through the involvement of mental health support through an NHS nurse, as well as input from local groups such as Penumbra. The Mental Health nurse is on hand for one-to-one support if difficult issues arise and can signpost for more specialist support if deemed necessary. Having straightforward access to specialist support is an advantage for these groups with the aim being to help address issues as they arise. This should help clients to feel more ready to start employment but also provides awareness of local support as and when required.
The EmployabiliTAY course also looks at the specific training needs of each participant and addresses these where possible by funding short courses or refreshing certificates for example. This enables clients to feel more skilled in their area upon completion of the course.
EmployabiliTAY ensures that each client receives access to appropriate support and opportunities (as above). The course content covers goals and motivation and improving confidence and self-esteen. This training enables clients to look at the many skills they may already have, as well as any transferable skills. By examining their interests and strengths clients are able to decide on job areas that are suitable to their interests as well as their current situation. The group model of the course enables interaction and exchange of ideas, as well as a supportive environment. The one-to-one follow ups allow more personalised support and after-care.
Most referrals to EmployabiliTAY come from DWP or SDS and target groups requiring more specialist individual support. This ensures that individuals are receiving access to training opportunities and contact made with local organisations who may be able to offer additional specific support. Having organisations and employers attend the group makes this support easy to access and increases awareness of local opportunities for a potentially harder to reach group.
Many individuals are keen to access local opportunities and make contact with local training providers and employers. Gaining employability skills and specific training enables clients to be job-ready upon completion but also access these local opportunities which in turn benefits the community.
Upon referral clients are assessed as to their suitability for the course as well as type of support required and particular barriers faced. Following successful registration, an individual action plan is discussed and created with the client.
If the client is deemed unsuitable for the course, they are referred to a more suitable partner organisation.
Employability is central to this course and the timetable covers all aspects of employability and ways of improving the client’s skills in each area. Each client is assigned a designated Skills Advisor who works with that individual from the point of registration to the completion of the project and evaluation.
Each course runs for 13 weeks, beginning with a 3 week intensive group training element followed by 10 weeks of one to one support.
Examples of training provided – First Aid, CSCS, Forklift Truck, Taxi licence, Security.
Challenges Encountered & How Overcome
The clients attending EmployabiliTAY courses are often facing multiple barriers, which can range from low motivation, poor diet, lack of budgeting skills etc. Upon registration all barriers are examined and action is taken to identify appropriate support, for example lack of confidence at interviews will lead to the arrangement of mock interviews, interest in further education will lead to a guidance appointment with a college adviser. Referrals will also be made where relevant to additional organisations, for example housing or debt issues will trigger a referral to Welfare Rights, Housing or CAB.
The many barriers faced by clients can include long-term unemployment, history of drug abuse, criminal convictions, not engaging or keeping in touch. The group work as well as the 1:1 support creates supportive relationships and provides access to helpful information and networks. Forming new positive habits is examined as part of the course and listening to others’ similar experiences can also be helpful.
Assessment of Impact & Future Opportunities
A key achievement of the EmployabiliTAY programme has been a culture shift in terms of working regionally and providing support and advice between local authorities.
There have been several aspects to this format which have enabled successful support of multiple and significant barriers. These include improved responsiveness to clients and simplification of a normally complex multi-agency approach.
Results are achieved through a collaborative partnership approach which enables clients to address barriers to gaining employment that would often not have been recognised as such. That means they previously may not have sought help to address these, or may not have received help at the pace or time required.
The integrated support seems to be achieving better results for clients in addition to making more effective use of staff time, as attendance rates amongst clients are significantly higher. 5 courses ran in Angus in 2018 with an additional one January 2019 due to the demand and successes.