The Work Programme: What is the Role of Skills?

This is an important publication which makes the case for more skills support to unemployed people on the Work Programme, providing information including insight into the eligibility rules and programmes available, case studies and advice on how this can best be achieved.

There is no comprehensive data on the skills needs of Work Programme participants. However, data on the skills needs of unemployed people generally shows that they often have English, maths, ICT, employability and vocational skills needs and that these skills needs are more prevalent among long-term unemployed people. For Work Programme participants to have a realistic chance of finding work, remaining in work and hopefully progressing, they need the opportunity to address their skills needs.

  • Chapter 1 explains the importance of skills in enabling people to secure and sustain employment.
  • Chapter 2 assesses the degree to which Work Programme participants currently have access to skills provision.
  • Chapter 3 describes the range of skills provision available for unemployed adults and includes case studies illustrating how Work Programme participants have gained skills and found sustained employment as a result.
  • Chapter 4 identifies when Work Programme participants are eligible to be funded through the Skills Funding Agency to participate in skills provision.
  • Chapter 5 describes helpful approaches that can be adopted by Work Programme providers when working in partnership with learning providers, including an explanation of key issues such as the need for learning providers to undertake initial assessments and the benefits to learning providers of certainty about the volume and timing of referrals.

The Work Programme was launched across Great Britain in June 2011. The Programme provides intensive, personalised support for people who are long-term unemployed or who are at most risk of becoming so. The Programme provides this support for up to two years for each unemployed participant plus further in-work support once participants have found work. Work Programme Prime Providers have been given full control over the approaches they take to support their participants into sustained employment in the hope that this encourages creativity and innovation.