Careers Information on FE Careers

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

With current numbers of long-term unemployed in the UK already at 400,000 there is an urgent need to help support people back into work.

The trouble is that the very people who could provide the expertise to do this are leaving the sector in droves. As the Government transitioned its help for unemployed people into a new scheme called the Work Programme, many thousands of specialist advisors were made redundant. Unsurprisingly, they have been put off ever working in the sector again. They are bemused that after years of helping others to find jobs, they now have to register at the job centre themselves.

They fear that there is a lack of long-term stability in the welfare to work sector and that its structure is dependent on whichever political administration is in power.

The Work Programme is the coalition's flagship strategy for dealing with long-term unemployment. It consolidates and replaces previous schemes run by the Labour Government. It will pay private and not-for-profit providers on results – a radical departure from what has gone before.

The Work Programme does have real potential to make a difference to people's lives and to also benefit the flailing UK economy, however, as with all reforms, the system faces teething problems, one of which is around the availability of skilled advisors to deliver the programme. Unless contractors think carefully about their staff retention and talent management, it's evident that the programme could undergo shortages of the right qualified personnel. The types of schemes that might help keep staff on board are peer to peer training, and structured development programmes – where staff are supported to progress and given clear guidance on what is expected at each level. It would also be useful to mirror the in-work support that they will be providing to those they place in work.

Recently, we organised a series of workshops to support former specialist advisors to the long-term unemployed who had faced redundancy. Half of those attending reported that they have been put off working in the sector ever again. One reason for this is because they feel the contractual nature of the welfare to work sector doesn't offer long-term job security. The volume of redundancies was exacerbated by the lack of government support during the transition process from the old contracts to the Work Programme. Consequently, many see their jobs as subject to political decisions over which they have no influence.

The public sector could well suffer as a result. Jobcentre Plus (JCP) workers are likely to see the impact of staffing shortages among private sector providers on those they refer for help. As JCPs themselves have already seen a number of redundancies, this could well compound the issue.

It is now a numbers game – with payment awarded for people placed – regardless of how long they have been unemployed. The danger is that the focus will become on the 'low hanging fruit' – people who are easy to place – rather than on those who require more time and help.

This will not be an easy shift in practice for those who have previously worked in this area, and built up years of experienced. They will need to adopt a different mindset when delivering the Work Programme to that which was needed when working on previous contracts. The coalition's delivery model, which will pay on results, will need personnel to be more results driven, commercial and focussed on retention. However, with many advisors joining the sector to make a genuine difference to peoples' lives, (80% of those who attended our workshops), there is a fear that this new look programme, with all focus on results, will not allow advisors the time and resource needed to help vulnerable groups. Contractors will need to be aware of the step change needed in both skills and attitude from advisors and support them accordingly.

A primary focus for all managers is to deliver tangible Work Programme results. Although investing in staff development may seem financially risky for providers, this short term pain is necessary for long-term gain. This is because it is important to bridge the gap between the old and new mindsets mentioned above and help those advisors still in the sector get to grips with their new organisations, new workloads, new ways of working and new targets.

Additionally, staff retention rates in the welfare to work sector generally are notoriously low, and so, in addition to this training, contractors should also offer advisors regular reviews and development plans for career progression. It is only with this kind of foresight and planning that organisations specialising in helping the unemployed back to work will retain talented staff.

Organisations will only be successful in delivering the new Work Programme through a commitment to staff engagement. Otherwise, in the long-term, they may find themselves without skilled personnel to deliver those potentially lucrative contracts.

Anton Roe is director at Alderwood Welfare to Work, a specialist provider of personnel to organisations delivering the Work Programme

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Newsroom Activity

George Robson has published a new article: Barton Peveril’s Princeton Student 42 minutes ago
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 19 hours 12 minutes ago

Evaluation survey and what you need to know: Uni...

This video provides more information for school and college learners who have been asked to complete an evaluation survey as part of the Uni Connect...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 19 hours 13 minutes ago

RT @FENews: Are we doing enough for disadvantaged learners? #SkillsWorldLive 2.7: On #SkillsWorldLive tonight, guests include: David Hughes…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page