We have been pleased to assist the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in promoting their UK Futures innovation programme, a series of competitions targeting workforce development challenges.
Competitions have included:
- tackling low pay and progression in retail and hospitality
- encouraging ‘anchor institutions‘ to bring forward new and better ways of helping to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills in small firms. Such organisations are described as those that have an important presence in the local community and make some strategic contribution to the local economy.
- addressing the gender pay and opportunity gap in cleaning, catering and social care
Derrick Johnstone’s role as an UKCES Associate was to identify organisations likely to be interested in these competitions (for themselves or their networks) and generate interest amongst them, and then provide independent advice to prospective bidders on behalf of UKCES. The aim was to stimulate high quality bids which have real potential to influence future practice and policy.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation ran a joint event, Better Jobs, Better Business with UKCES in March 2016. It sought to explore the support needed to create a virtuous circle of higher skills, job progression and improved business performance, and featured case studies from the UK Futures competition on pay and progression in retail and hospitality, including the Living Wage Foundation, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, and the National Coastal Training Academy. One output is the Hospitality Skills Toolkit which seeks to help employers grow their businesses with gains flowing to their staff as well as their bottom lines.
The overall evaluation of the UK Futures programme highlights benefits to business through partnership not least in sharing information, learning and resources.
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The Prospects Trust is a well-established local charity working with people who have learning disabilities. They provide training and work opportunities in horticulture, organic market gardening, and off-site garden services. They were one of the runners-up in the National Lottery ‘People’s Millions’ competition in 2013.
Recent years have seen the Trust grow, not least in the number of co-workers assisted by personal support workers. The time was right in Autumn 2013 for staff and trustees to come together for a strategy workshop facilitated by Derrick Johnstone. Participants took stock of the current position of the Trust and its ethos, and considered its future direction as a social enterprise. Actions agreed included steps to strengthen business development and people management functions, necessary given the Trust’s expansion, and to provide greater opportunities for support workers to progress.
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Derrick Johnstone advised Doncaster Council and the Work and Skills Steering Group of Doncaster Together
on their Work and Skills Plan. This built on the Local Economic Assessment and set out to make the most of the added value of partnership working, in the context of far-reaching changes in funding and national policy. It provided the basis for discussions on the introduction locally of the DWP Work Programme, and prioritised action around employer engagement; labour market intelligence; information, advice and guidance; and targeted support for individuals and families. It has also informed the work of South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership on skills.
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Educe produced the ‘How To’ guide on the Future Jobs Fund
331KB) for IDeA (now part of the Local Government Association) to help local authorities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises bid for and develop effective programmes. FJF was a recession response, linked to the recommendations of the Houghton ‘Tackling Worklessness’ Review, providing for the creation of 170,000 jobs (120,000 for young people and 50,000 for older adults in unemployment hotspots).The initial draft of the guide was circulated in late 2009 as organisations prepared bids and developed their plans, with a final version published in March 2010. This provided the background to FJF, advice on what makes a good bid and a good programme, and summarised success factors for delivery (eg, on engagement and publicity, programme design and management, and linking FJF and Apprenticeships). It also highlighted ‘top tips’ and practical things to watch out for.The Coalition Government subsequently closed FJF to new bids. However, contract holders delivered FJF into 2011. While much of the guide is FJF-specific, the content also includes lessons of wider relevant to the design and implementation of employment programmes.
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Educe Director, Derrick Johnstone was recruited as a member of the national panel of Local Improvement Advisors (LIAs), specialising in leadership and partnership development, performance improvement, local economy/worklessness and data sharing. Support from LIAs was available through Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships to support local authorities and Local Strategic Partnerships in improving public services and gaining efficiencies. Assignments, funded by Communities and Local Government, between 2009 and 2011 included:
- data sharing to tackle worklessness: CLG/DWP pilot programme with Kent, Leeds and Liverpool
- review of regional research and intelligence capacity in the East Midlands, and subsequent role in support of a follow-up regional project on customer insight and research (for the East Midlands Improvement and Efficiency Partnership)
- locality working in West Cumbria (for Allerdale, Copeland and Cumbria local authorities)
- workshop facilitation to review progress by national partner organisations on recommendations made by the ‘Supporting Local Information and Research’ report (for CLG)
- research into the use and impact of Working Neighbourhoods Fund (for CLG)
- Customer Insight Skills Audit, for Humber Innovation Partnership
- advising on the development of the Doncaster Work and Skills Plan
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