A joined up approach to supporting people in West Cheshire receiving out of work benefits to ensure they access employment opportunities
A business case for Work Ready Individuals was submitted to Government in October 2012. It outlined a new way of joining up the existing employment and skills delivery landscape in West Cheshire for the benefit of people seeking employment.
The Altogether Better approach aims to address the needs of these people in a coordinated fashion; aligning the assessments, referrals and information systems that exist. There are currently 12 main providers in West Cheshire delivering these types of services including; the local authority, Jobcentre Plus, Work Programme providers, colleges and the voluntary and community sector, all of whom are committed to acting in a more coordinated way to get more people work ready and into sustained employment.
What are we trying to achieve
- Reduced unemployment and reduced numbers on out-of-work benefits
- Local people have greater control over services which assist entry to employment
- Increased attainment of qualifications and apprenticeships
- A more resilient workforce with people in work for longer with fewer episodes of unemployment
- More people are given assistance to overcome barriers and gain skills to gain employment.
- Local skills provision is responsive to the demand of employers and businesses.
The new model provides a significant opportunity to change the way that agencies currently work together. The aspiration is to develop more integrated working practices and ‘wrap around’ services for the customer, including improved referrals between organisations and proactive planning between agencies leading to sustainable employment for the individual.
The new delivery model includes the co-location and integration of local and national agencies in specific hotspot areas. It will provide specialist teams of trained advisers in accessible locations to support clients through their journey to work.
It is anticipated that the introduction of the new delivery model will deliver efficiencies by increasing capacity, streamlining processes, removing duplication and reducing the amount of time that customers remain unemployed.
What have we achieved so far?
In collaborating with partners, three Work Zones have been established, based in key locations across the borough. This approach is based on providing seamless services in one place that address all the requirements a job seeker may have. It is designed to offer a personalised service; providing all the support, learning and skills needed to move into sustained employment.
The Work Zones include Jobcentre Plus, National Careers Service, Citizens Advice Bureau and Cheshire West and Chester Council, alongside partners such as local housing trusts and West and Mid Cheshire Colleges.
The Work Zone offer considers the following issues:
- Barriers to work: health, housing, debt, travel, domestic issues, childcare
- Functional ability: literacy, numeracy, ICT at the appropriate level
- Vocational ability: qualification relevant to job aspirations
- Employability: CV, job search, interview and presentation support
- Attitude: work-ethic, confidence, motivation, communication, teamwork, problem solving
This translates into the support ‘offer’ that includes:
- Supporting continuing job search activity
- Supporting customers to upload CVs
- Supporting customers to set up an email account
- Supporting customers with applications
- IT skill assessments
- Work club activity
- Interview techniques
- Confidence building
- Money management
The Work Zones are located in Ellesmere Port at Civic Way, Northwich train station and in Winsford in the Verdin institute. Plans are being developed to create Work Zones in Chester and Neston.
- Work Ready Individuals Business Case Summary (PDF 257 Kb)
- Work Ready Individuals Business Case (PDF 2.32 Mb)