From education to employment

APPG employment and social housing study finds need for funding certainty, devolved programmes to support employment opportunities

employment opportunities
  • New APPG report, led by social housing sector, spotlights how to improve employment and training for thousands of people across the UK 
  • Emphasises need for funding certainty to ensure continuity for key programmes that tackle unemployment, and devolving programmes to meet needs of local job markets 
  • Suggests social housing provides affordability, stability people need to secure employment 

The All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) on Housing and Social Mobility has today published a new report, examining the barriers working age people in social housing face in securing employment and progressing in work.  

Published in the face of the largest unemployment crisis faced in the UK for over 100 years, the APPG’s new report, ‘Improving Opportunities: How to support social housing tenants into sustainable employment’, urges funding certainty for key programmes that help tackle unemployment. This includes the Shared Prosperity Fund, and clarity as to how it will replace the European Social Fund (ESF) which is coming to an end now the UK has left the EU. Housing providers rely on the ESF to deliver many of their employment and training services, and support people into work.  

The report, written by UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), also warns that a national one size fits all approach fails to deliver for those who need it. Instead, the report recommends that employment support in England and Wales is commissioned, designed, and delivered locally – through local government, housing associations and local bodies. Devolving programmes in this way could save money whilst aligning employment support to fit local job markets, create new jobs and provide better opportunities for unemployed people to access sustainable employment. 

The new report also suggests that the tenure security and affordability provided by social housing may give people the stability they need to create a foundation for success, helping them overcome barriers and in turn secure employment. 

The evidence led report received over 60 submissions from the social housing, government and employment sectors. Crucially, the inquiry also heard from social housing tenants about what had been most helpful for them as they sought work. This is believed to be the first report on social housing providers and their often unremarked role within employment and training support to publish in the UK since Covid-19 took effect.  

The report, which was led by Communities that Work and PlaceShapers, with additional support from the housing sector’s GEM programme, also set out a number of other recommendations for Government consideration:  

  • Embed employment into local procurement contracts. Guarantee that jobs and apprenticeship opportunities are created for local people by requiring suppliers and contractors commit to providing these opportunities.  
  • Provide temporary financial support for those entering the job market to help cover extra essential costs related to starting a job. 
  • Focus on removing long-standing barriers to employment, including poor or expensive public transport, unaffordable childcare and irradicate digital exclusion with access to quality, affordable broadband for all. 

Peter Aldous MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Housing and Social Mobility commented:  

“This APPG Inquiry on Housing and Employment establishes clear evidence for what works most effectively and consistently in supporting people to sustain their own livelihoods. I look forward to working with the Government, fellow MPs and the social housing sector to bring the inquiry’s recommendations to life, recognising that working together gives us the greatest chance of achieving long term, positive changes in communities across the UK.”  

Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director, Communities that Work commented: 

With the economic damage from COVID-19 likely to exceed previous recessions, this inquiry drives home the need for Government to work with the social housing sector to deliver meaningful employment and training support and put the UK on the path to recovery. The inquiry’s findings emphasise the vital role social housing providers can play in driving local economic growth that will help communities thrive and level up.” 

Matthew WalkerChairPlaceShapers commented:  

This report clearly shows that the security and affordability of social housing helps people to be able to find and keep a job. In addition, the work of social landlords in supporting their residents into work can be transformative. Social landlords are experts in the places they work, and have a strong track record working with residents to help them achieve sustainable jobs. The inquiry’s findings show that social landlords should play a far greater role in designing and delivering employment support programmes across the country. 

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