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Keeping Work: supporting homeless people to sustain employment Juliette Hough and Amy Webb Broadway 28 March 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Keeping Work: supporting homeless people to sustain employment Juliette Hough and Amy Webb Broadway 28 March 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Keeping Work: supporting homeless people to sustain employment Juliette Hough and Amy Webb Broadway 28 March 2012

2 Workshop outline Practice Broadway’s approach to building confidence and emotional resilience to sustain work. Research What we know through existing research. Broadway’s Keeping Work research – what it is and what it tells us (so far) about what might help homeless people to sustain work. Practice Discussion of the implications of the early research findings for our practice.

3 The Broadway Employment Academy Model ‘The Employability Challenge’ (UKCES 2009) that defined employability skills as the ‘skills almost everyone needs to do almost any job’. The Employment Academy delivery model references the model provided in the UK Commission for Employment and Skills report. Skills that ‘everyone needs to do any job’.

4 Positive Approach A person should demonstrate: a foundation of Positive Approach: being ready to participate, make suggestions, accept new ideas and constructive criticism, and take responsibility for outcomes.

5 Functional Skills This foundation supports three Functional Skills: using numbers effectively – measuring, recording measurements, calculating, estimating quantities, relating numbers to the job. using language effectively – writing clearly, and in a way appropriate to the context, ordering facts and concepts logically. using IT effectively – operating a computer, both using basic systems and also learning other applications as necessary, and using telephones and other technology to communicate.

6 Personal Skills These functional skills are exercised in the context of four Personal Skills: self-management – punctuality and time management, fitting dress and behaviour to context, overcoming challenges and asking for help when necessary. thinking and solving problems – creativity, reflecting on and learning from own actions, prioritising, analysing situations, and developing solutions. working together and communicating – co-operating, being assertive, persuading, being responsible to others, speaking clearly to individuals and groups and listening for a response. understanding the business – understanding how the individual jobs fits into the organisation as a whole; recognising the needs of stakeholders (customers and service users); judging risks, innovating, and contributing to the whole organisation.

7 How it Fits Together

8 Impact on Practice Clients are better able to define in clear terms their employability needs. Workers are better able to target key areas for development pre-work and in-work. Skills Development Workshops are not generic employability programmes. Mentoring support can be targeted on specific personal development goals for effective in-work support.

9 How Broadway is developing our in-work strategy We are aiming to: Build an evidence base – accurate tracking of employment sustainment for client. Stay relevant to clients in work – what is the offer, why stay in touch? Continue to participate in the ‘Keeping Work’ research – support clients engaged in project, review findings and implement recommendations. Share Good Practice – what works best, who has what? Ensure Client Feedback develops service delivery – if it doesn’t work, don’t keep it.

10 Keeping Work – the research

11 A qualitative longitudinal research project which aims to identify what helps homeless people keep work. Funded by Trust for London and (subject to contracting) Department for Work and Pensions. Involves Broadway, Business Action on Homelessness (our partners), Crisis, SHP, St Mungo’s, Thames Reach… …and CDG, Seetec, Homeless Link, York University, Department for Communities and Local Government.

12 Why do we need this research? Many homeless people struggle to sustain work. –Only one third of a specialist provider’s homeless clients who enter work are still in work six months later. We don’t know what works in supporting people to sustain work. Little resources are available to support people to sustain work. The policy environment is changing, and there is a new emphasis on entering and sustaining work. –The Government and Prime Contractors need good research to inform them. –Specialist providers need good research to inform our work, demonstrate our value and attract funding.

13 In the words of one of our clients… “There’s loads of money being spent getting people into work and there is nothing being spent getting them over the threshold… it’s like a bride getting married and you can imagine all the effort that goes into the wedding but when she walks up the aisle and there is no husband there, well then, all the money and effort hasn’t been worth it.” (from Business Action on Homelessness and the New Economics Foundation)

14 The current policy environment The Work Programme: prime contractors are paid to keep people in work. –How can this be done? –What role should specialist agencies have? Universal Credit (coming in 2013) –How does the benefits system help / hinder people to stay in work? –How could Universal Credit improve things? Unemployment is increasing –How does this effect our clients and the support they need?

15 Research – what’s already out there? Sustainable employment: supporting people to stay in work and advance by the National Audit Office. Making Work Work and Work it Out by Business Action on Homelessness and the New Economics Foundation. Emotional resilience and productivity of the working age population by Business in the Community and vielife. Work Matters, by St Mungo’s and Demos. A number of publications by Off the Streets and Into Work.

16 The existing research - common characteristics Existing research FocusBarriers to entering work MethodsSurveys or one-off interviews Sample characteristics Not in work Sample sizeSmall Sample breadthOne provider’s clients PerspectivePolicy campaigning / service provision

17 How Keeping Work is different Existing researchKeeping Work research FocusBarriers to entering work Facilitators to sustaining work MethodsSurveys or one-off interviews Qualitative and longitudinal: 5 interviews over one year Sample characteristics Not in workIn work Sample sizeSmall60 Sample breadthOne provider’s clients6 providers and 2 prime contractors PerspectivePolicy campaigning / service provision Holistic, individual

18 Research aims To identify why a large proportion of homeless people fall out of work. To identify what helps homeless people keep the jobs they start. To influence policy and practice to ensure that more homeless people are able to sustain work.

19 What the existing research tells us: Barriers to sustaining work Casual, temporary and part-time contracts The benefits system –Does work pay? –Accruing arrears Inappropriate accommodation –High rents (  arrears) –Noise –Discouragement from peers

20 What the existing research tells us: Barriers to sustaining work (2) Poor support –Discouragement from staff to work –Lack of knowledge about in-work benefits Support needs –Lack of in-work support –Low emotional resilience –Re-emergence of drug, alcohol or mental health issues

21 Existing research recommendations Provide in-work support: –Site visits, mediation, debt counselling, problem solving. Provide personalised, flexible pre-employment coaching (with joint working between providers). Make work pay: pay incentives, wage supplements or London living wage. Job Centre Plus should proactively offer in-work benefits. Speed up rapid reclaim process for benefits. Regulate temporary work / pay incentives to employers to provide longer term / permanent work. Provide appropriate accommodation (though moving on soon after starting work can be very destabilising). Provide opportunities for progression.

22 Keeping Work: our progress In-depth interviews conducted with 9 homeless people who are about to start / have just started work. –Through Beyond Food, Broadway, Business Action on Homelessness, Crisis, St Mungo’s –6 through specialist schemes –1 has already fallen out of work

23 What does the Keeping Work research tell us? Very early findings

24 Motivations to work Almost everyone wanted to work. People are willing to work for very little money (eg. £12.5k). Work can provide: –A sense of purpose –A meaningful, structured way of spending time –A positive sense of identity and social status –As well as money Q: Are the jobs that people commonly enter enough to provide these things? Q: Will these motivations change over time?

25 A model of sustained employment? Any job Better job Career (from Business Action on Homelessness) Some of our interviewees were going into ‘any job’, others into a ‘better job’ (on their chosen career path). ‘Any job’ can provide a sense of purpose and increase self-confidence. But entering ‘any job’ can narrow other opportunities. Q: When should people enter ‘any job’ and when should they aim for a ‘better job’ instead?

26 Settling in and emerging problems Before starting work people tended to be very positive, excited and sometimes anxious. Soon after starting work, people tended to remain positive and excited. We have conducted one second interview (2 months in): difficulties are becoming more apparent. Q: Could this positive attitude mean that problems might be hidden from support providers early on? Might they emerge once support has been disengaged from?

27 Moving off benefits Almost everyone was confused about what starting work would mean financially. One person had already built up arrears. People were making financial decisions (eg. how many hours to work, what salary to accept) based on incomplete / inaccurate information. Often, staff were not knowledgeable enough about in- work benefits. Q: How can we provide clear, accurate advice around financial matters and benefits?

28 A lack of information – a lack of control? ‘I got the job and she [my keyworker] said ‘Congratulations, come on, let’s go and sign you off’. I said ‘no, wait wait wait’. They’re going to owe me a week or a week and a bit [of benefits], so I don’t know how it’s going to work […] God knows, I’m really a bit kind of up in the air about that’. –Sarah (40s) A number of people did not know: the financial implications of working; what their job title was; when they would start; what organisation they were working for. Q: How can we support people to be informed and in control?

29 Emotional resilience Business Action on Homelessness research suggests this is important. Many people displayed ‘emotional resilience’. They had transformed their experiences of homelessness into positive experiences which had helped them learn and grow. Many people still had low self-esteem and praise was important to them. Q: How can we help people build emotional resilience?

30 Other emerging themes Adapting to a workplace culture – learning ‘unwritten rules’. Managing substance, mental health and physical health issues. Managing the demands of 9-5 (or shift) work. Moving on – some people are keen to, others feel under pressure to.

31 So… what might help homeless people sustain work? The research will provide more answers as it develops. Pre-work support: –Clear and accurate financial / benefits information and advice –Build emotional resilience –Ensuring that the job entered has meaning to the individual. In-work support? –Access to in-work support –Quick identification of and management of arrears –Further exploration needed… And we’ll be looking at Government policy, the benefits system, and what employers can do.

32 Our website Join our discussion forums. Read blogs by homeless people starting new jobs. Sign up to receive our research reports. Follow links to other research about homelessness and employment. Keep up to date with homelessness and employment news.

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34 Discussion 1.When should people enter ‘any job’ and when should they aim for a ‘better job’ instead? 2.Are some jobs more likely than others to provide a sense of purpose and status? If so, which ones? How can homeless people be supported to access these? 3.Could people’s positive attitudes when starting work mean that problems might be hidden from support providers early on? Might they emerge once support has been disengaged from? If so, what does this mean for our practice? 4.What are your thoughts, comments and ideas about this research?

35 Contact us Please contact us with ideas or questions:


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