IntoWork 2015: A reflection

28 July 2015

A legacy lasting more than 16 years – laying its foundations in the elevation of employment, skills, health and career progression, has now led to the beginning of a new journey bridging Inclusion and NIACE together in a partnership that will revive confidence back into the employment industry.

The opening speech by Inclusion’s Chief Executive, Dave Simmonds was an encouraging entry that paid tribute to the efforts of the organisations that came together to support a new era to come. Simmonds cites: “Our aim is that next year a new organisation will be born that will champion employment, skills and life learning for all – especially for the unemployed and those on low incomes. Together we will build a new organisation that has a strong policy voice, high standards of research and will be stronger and more sustainable.” With this thought in mind, it can confidently be acclaimed that this year’s IntoWork Convention was filled with much promise and talk of innovation that will certainly impact the labour market and help to tackle the core issues that prevent the succession of individuals in this field.

The key themes of this year’s Convention as highlighted by Connor Stevens were Integration, Devolution and Personalisation – which are three things that definitely stand out as fitting areas of intervention. As the need to re-engage people into a positive relationship with the economy, it appears that the sense of inclusiveness and individualisation were merged together through a plethora of debates, speeches, talks and more to create stronger influence in promoting the social and economic growth of society.

Of the many topics of discussion at the Convention, a trend was found focusing on issues of disability and mental health. In a talk with Inclusion’s Director of Policy and Research, Tony Wilson, questions regarding the urgency of closing the unemployment gap for those suffering with mental health issues collectively proved it to be a difficult task to accomplish overnight – let alone discuss in 40 minutes. It was also established that implications regarding the discrepancies of mental health workers in the employment sphere were not solely down to the shortage of individuals with mental health who are motivated to work, but rather the lack of provision and support they would need to sustain themselves in full time employment. So as Priti Patel MP, Minister of State for Employment mentioned, a combination of reforms is required to ensure the efficiency of secure employment for this group. These are the concerns that stir up useful debates on what needs to occur in our societies.

Other areas discussed included devolution and the rise in local employment. Most recently plans in welfare cuts have shown a call for local organisations to increasingly make provision for people in their neighbourhoods. So as we build on forming and developing more ways of integrating support services to disadvantaged people, we also begin to mature in our understanding of what works and what is most effective. We will then succeed to “translate research findings into practical, market-tested policy to help people get the opportunities they need to succeed in work and in life” (as told by Chief Executive of NIACE David Hughes.

All in all, the IntoWork Convention 2015 was definitely a triumph. With all the insight obtained it with confidence that the merger between Inclusion and NIACE will see the birth of more open doors and value helping the nation in improving employability and reducing worklessness.

To find out more about what happened, check out some of the presentations and videos by our main speakers.