The Salvation Army today (Thursday 27 June 2013) released a report highlighting its progress in bringing people back into employment in the government’s Work Programme.
The report concludes that the success of the programme relies on ensuring that participants have good ‘life outcomes’ and recommends a number of design changes that could improve its performance.
The report finds that:
· some participants would have benefited from earlier assistance.
· the Work Programme is inappropriate for some of our participants at this time in their lives.
· some participants need much more intensive support than can be offered under the current Work Programme provisions.
The Salvation Army supports hard to reach Work Programme participants, and argues that the outcomes for individuals, as well as their families and communities, could be greatly improved by correctly identifying the underlying causes of worklessness much earlier on in the process.
This would allow Jobcentre Plus staff and/or other more specialised providers to address their barriers much earlier.
The report also reveals what the people using The Salvation Army Employment Plus Work Programme actually think about it.
· 95% participants said that since joining The Salvation Army Employment Plus Work Programme they have become more confident about their job prospects.
“My coach has been very supportive, even during employment, kept in touch to see how I was getting on.”
“They were very helpful helping me figure out where I was going wrong and gaining more chances of getting a job.”
· 93% felt clearer about their route back into employment and felt better able to present themselves to potential employers.
“They give me a lot more inspiration & confidence into actually doing more to find work & a good push into the right direction, always a good sign for someone with a lot of experience of work like me.”
· 95% would recommend The Salvation Army Employment Plus Work Programme to a friend or relative.
“My adviser is very helpful and easy to talk to, he's down to earth and doesn’t talk to you like he has a higher authority. I would recommend anyone who is in a difficult position so come to The Salvation Army.”
Russell James had a successful career selling contract staff to cruise ships all over the world. When he lost his job his marriage broke down and he drifted between short term work, living in his car. It was only when he encountered The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus programme that he got back on his feet.
[Read more: Work For All site]
After gaining a qualification, and applying at various places, Russell fittingly found work at the centre where he was trained. “It’s sort of a coming full circle,” he said. “But I love it. I get to use the various experiences I’ve had through my employment, and I try and make sure I use my work background to be more than the standard adviser – so that we can actually turn lives around.”
And that’s what it’s all about. “That’s the difference The Salvation Army makes,” he added. “It deals with the whole person in front of them, not figures or projections. I’ve seen people come in here and rage when they first come in, and in a few months they’ve turned their lives around and have found work. It’s incredible.”
Now back with his family and enjoying new work, Russell feels he’s a very lucky man. “If someone told me a year ago where I’d be today, I wouldn’t have believed them, but it’s great.”
Helen Robinson, Director of The Salvation Army Employment Plus, said: “The Salvation Army has always worked with the most vulnerable and marginalised and we still do. We are showing a good number of people getting into employment from this hard to reach group but want to work with the DWP to remove the barriers preventing us from being even more effective.
“We take a holistic individual approach as is our ethos and feel strongly that this is the way to not only help people into work but support them with underlying addiction, mental health or health issues to give them, their families and communities, a better life outcome as well.”
Click to read the report online