11 Oct, 2011

Casualties of the Government’s Work Programme

11 Oct, 2011

New research  has revealed that over half (57%) of individuals made redundant as a result of the Government transition to the new look Work Programme, have been put off ever working in the sector again.

The Government’s Work Programme, which aims to get the long term unemployed back into work, consolidates and replaces many of the smaller welfare related contracts previously run by the Government. With only 20% of contracts being delivered by the same suppliers, there has been widespread redundancy.

The redundancies threaten to drive talent out of the sector, with research showing many of those facing job losses have worked in the sector for over 10 years, and over half (52%), have built up more than 5 years’ experience.

Alderwood is warning that unless new contractors think carefully about how talent can be nurtured, the new look programme faces massive personnel shortages.

One in five people agree that the main barrier to the Work Programme’s success is an inability to secure the right staff. The financial model of the new programme, which pays private and not-for-profit providers by results, is also seen as a major stumbling block according to 37.2% of those interviewed.

The research, carried out at a series of workshops specially designed by Alderwood to support people facing job losses in the sector, also revealed that over 80% were attracted to the industry originally by a desire to make a difference to people’s lives.

Their lengthy experience in the sector means they have specialist knowledge on how to get the long term unemployed back to work. Critically, over 40% of respondents agreed that an ability to recognise transferable skills is a key skill to the role.  Other important qualities which contractors should be on the look out for are a supportive nature, energy & enthusiasm, and the more pragmatic qualities of being results driven and realistic.

Anton Roe, Director at Alderwood commented: “The Work Programme does have real potential to make a difference to people’s lives and also to benefit the flailing UK economy. However, it’s important to note that the success of this reform is dependent on the availability of the right advisors with the right skills to ensure the long term unemployed receive the proper support to get back into work.”

Mike O’Toole, a redundancy casualty said: “I think that the financial incentives of the Work Programme will have the wrong effect. They will lead to contractors picking off those that are most employable in order to maximise financial gain. There is therefore a real risk that helping the long term unemployed, a group which really does need assistance, will become a secondary objective.”