From education to employment

NIACE Host Conference to Move in Government’s Welfare Reform Direction

One of the most prominent Government announcements of January was the Welfare Reform paper which will receive further attention tomorrow at a London conference hosted by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

The paper marks a significant step in the mission of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to bring an increasing number of people back from worklessness and into the workforce. This would serve to raise the employment rate and reduce the welfare budgetary burden, thus satisfying the continuing drive for better value for taxpayers” money and improving the living standards and economic prosperity of British society.

Amongst the prime beneficiaries of this reform will be those people receiving Incapacity Benefits. The hope is that the new changes will alter the perception that the system has incentivised the option for claimants to remove themselves permanently from the workforce. The reform paper is being enthusiastically approached by NIACE, whose mission is to encourage more and different adults to engage in better quality learning of all kinds and campaigns for, and celebrates the achievements of, all adult learners.

Margaret Hodge Keynote Speaker

The conference will see Margaret Hodge MP, Minister of State at the DWP making the keynote speech, and will also feature contributions from other interested parties such as the Disability Rights Commission, the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, MC Consultancy, the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce and Jobcentre Plus.

The Development Officer for Inclusive Learning at NIACE, Christine Nightingale, said: “NIACE believes that there is an important role for education providers in supporting individuals – through learning – into employment. We are keen to remind the government that all types of learning can have a significant beneficial impact on health, well-being and self esteem which are directly related to gaining and retaining employment.

“There will be enormous benefits for many individuals on the targeted benefits when they take-up wider learning opportunities before they are ready to enter employment or employment training,” she continued. “NIACE has shown through our work on the research projects – Discovering Potential, Prescribing Learning and in particular Making the Jump – that appropriate support, mentoring and learning opportunities can ensure that people with mental health difficulties, disabilities and learning difficulties make the sustainable transition needed to secure employment.”

Jethro Marsh

Will the conference further the Green Paper or raise fresh questions? Tell us in the FE Blog

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