Evidencing the difference we make to people’s lives through our employability research

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This Friday 30th June is ERSA Employability Day, our sector’s annual celebration of the fantastic work colleagues across the country are involved in to give more people access to employment. At Maximus we continue to invest in research to improve the support we offer to participants on our programmes and to evidence the impact of our work and that of the wider sector.  

Here is a flavour of what we’ve learned. 

Getting to the heart of our Community Partnership Network  

Last year we carried out a detailed evaluation to explore the benefits of our Community Partnership Network (CPN). The CPN is at the heart of our approach to employability, bringing together organisations across Great Britain to provide holistic support to participants on employment programmes.  It reflects our belief that effective employment support requires collaboration and alignment at a local level. 

We published the full results in our report, Collaboration Works. The findings showcased the array of benefits linked to this approach for the member organisations engaged in the network, the local communities within which they operate, and all the individuals supported in their journey towards achieving sustainable employment. 

Of course, to have real impact, our research also needs to test, challenge, and spur improvements in the design and delivery of our services. We were able to identify several areas where the CPN could be enhanced. I am thrilled to see these recommendations bear fruit as the network continues to go from strength to strength, with some 350 member organisations now collaborating to transform lives up and down the country. 

Tackling economic inactivity 

Since the pandemic we have seen an increase in the numbers of people not involved in the labour market, with ill-health proving a key barrier for many. This poses a real challenge to policy makers, especially in light of the significant proportion of economically inactive people who say they do want to work.  

Drawing on the latest research, our own expertise in employment support, and our long experience in supporting those with disabilities and health conditions, we joined the wider call to expand access to employment support, illustrating how our sector could do more to reach those furthest from the job market. 

The added value of employment support services 

In March, we published our latest research report, Over and Above, exploring the added value provided by dedicated employment support services. Using insights from front-line employment advisors and participants on employment programmes, we were able to crystallise the five core benefits our sector offers.  

  1. Our focus on helping people overcome complex barriers to enter work, and our expertise in doing so. 
  2. The time we invest in each participant to engage and support them. 
  3. The trusted relationships we develop with participants to generate results. 
  4. Our ability to personalise the support provided to suit people’s needs, circumstances, and ambitions. 
  5. That we provide the right environment in which people feel safe and empowered to explore moving into work. 

All our research draws upon the deep and varied expertise of colleagues and partners across our business and the wider sector. It relies upon their willingness to share and engage, and their openness to question and explore new ways to improve. The last year has demonstrated that we have these qualities in abundance.  

There are undoubtedly further challenges ahead for the UK labour market, and it will require the combined insight of those working across the employability sector to develop solutions to meet them. I am very proud of the work we have already done and look forward to building on this in the year ahead.  

28 June, 2023