The Evolution of Employability: Advisers are still the key! 

Employability by its very nature, has to evolve, as the labour market it supports also evolves. From its origins in Welfare-to-Work programmes of the 90’s and noughties, where increased unemployment due to financial crisis after crisis, forced businesses to close and whole industries decline or die completely

Welfare to Work’s fundamental purpose was to support long-term unemployed people find work and come off unemployment benefits. Generational & health-based unemployment that was founded in the late-70’s, meant many families and communities had never been to work. These programmes co-existed with the public employment services of the time and later provided by Jobcentre Plus (JCP). 

These early schemes, provided support such as help with job searching, CV-writing and interview techniques, were delivered by private and voluntary sector providers via contracts with DWP. At the start of this journey, we saw programmes aimed at discrete groups, like New Deals for: young people; disabled people; and lone parents, and others, sitting alongside delivery that focused on areas with high unemployment rates, such as The Employment Zones in Liverpool, Plymouth, Glasgow, North West Wales, and Teesside.

It wasn’t until 2009, with the introduction of the Labour governments flagship employment strategy, Flexible New Deal, that we saw a fundamental change to the sector. The introduction of Supply Chain Management expertise into the sector.

Further evolution came in the form of ‘Payment by Results’, that made job retention the critical measure, and during recent periods of high employment, the focus on health related employment related  support. So what next for the sector, in the current and post-Covid era? 

1 in 10 people employed before the Covid-19 crisis have lost their job. According to the Office of Business Responsibility (OBR), more than 2 million people could lose their jobs by June (though some estimates forecast as many as 6 million unemployed at peak). This will mean a large increase in newly unemployed, yet employable workers as well as the underlying long term unemployed, and require a fundamentally different approach.

Developing digital services, systems and processes that can ensure that advisers add value to the hardest to reach and manage high caseloads effectively, will be crucial.  Self-service, paperless onboarding, remote support, vacancy matching and other online resources will provide the infrastructure but highly trained advisers as always are the key!  (Employability practitioner). One thing is for certain is that on each occasion the sector has stepped up and got us through these crises and now we need to do it again.

CogniSoft has built a reputation over the last 35 years, for supporting Welfare to Work (now employability) providers, to effectively and accurately manage client caseloads and deliver data driven programme excellence. Our 20 years of experience in employability, working across multiple programmes has meant we have evolved in line with the needs of the sector and our digital caseload management systems offer a best-in- class solution.

CogniSoft would like to talk to any and all providers of Employability services now, to work together with you on this national problem, share our expertise and take the fight to Covid-19. If you are interested to talk to us call 0161 777 2900 or contact us on sales@cognisoft.co.uk

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Employability in the Post-Covid aftermath

The human impact of Covid-19 is at the forefront of people’s thoughts – and rightly so. However, the impact on people’s livelihood will be felt for a long time after the pandemic has subsided.

We can argue as to whether the lockdown measures ‘were too weak’ or ‘too late’, whether the government has done a good (or bad) job handling this unparalleled situation. But whatever side of the political divide you are on, it is clear that the nation is going to need significant support to rebuild careers or retrain those for other sectors less affected by the virus.

There have been almost one million new claims for Universal Credit in the last fortnight of March 2020, 7.3 times higher than the same period last year and according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD). 1 in 10 people employed before the crisis had lost their job and a further 16% had their pay or hours reduced. Furthermore, according to the Office of Business Responsibility (OBR), more than 2 million people could lose their jobs by June. 

In an insightful but sobering article published by the The Learning & Work institute, one telling statistic stood out. From late February to date, there has been a meteoric rise in Google searches for ‘lost my job’. (Other search terms, such as ‘Universal Credit’, ‘can’t pay bills’ and ‘can’t pay rent’ show a similar pattern).

Whether this is as a consequence of actual job losses, fear of what comes after ‘furloughing’ or just practicality, the reality is that the employability sector needs to be preparing for the unavoidable rise in unemployment.

Those of us who have been in the sector for a long time, have been here before; the late 80’s, mid-90’s and in the aftermath of the banking crisis between 2008-2013. On each occasion the sector has stepped up and got us through these crises and now we need to do it again. 

It’s true that the UK & global economy was pretty strong coming into this pandemic, and if lockdown and the raft of measures the government has introduced to support business have put them into some form of stasis, we may have more to work with than in previous cases. But we need to mobilise now before the predicted recession takes hold; plan for the worst and hope for the best.

CogniSoft has built a reputation over the last 35 years, for supporting Welfare to Work (now employability) providers, to effectively and accurately manage client caseloads and deliver data driven programme excellence. 

CogniSoft would like to talk to any and all providers of Employability services now, to work together with you on this national problem, share our expertise and take the fight to Covid-19. If you are interested to talk to us call 0161 777 2900 or contact us on sales@cognisoft.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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