Rapid evidence review on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce
A rapid evidence review by Gaby Atfield, Beate Baldauf and Erika Kispeter examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education, childcare and social work and related social care workforce. The review also examines how negative effects can be mitigated. The Department for Education funded this work following a recommendation from SAGE.
The review found that there was significant evidence of direct and indirect impacts on mental health and wellbeing of teachers, childcarers and social workers. These were exacerbated by fears about physical safety, increased workloads and concerns about being able to provide adequate support, particularly for the most vulnerable children. Financial stress and fears about job loss were also seen amongst nursery and other child care workers.
Mitigations to improve mental health and wellbeing included both organisational interventions and individual coping strategies, while provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and clear and consistent guidance for its use was also important.
The review identified a lack of evidence on the wider implications of declines in mental health and wellbeing and few studies that took a whole system approach that treats workers as part of a holistic system also including children and parents and carers. It identified a need for studies that track the longer-term impact of the pandemic on workers and greater learning from previous pandemics and other crises that have impacted on children's education.
Read the review on the IER project webpage.
The Benefits of Hindsight: Assessing the impact of apprenticeship reforms on employer behaviour
A new report from IER provides an explanation for the decline in the number of apprenticeships starts following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017. The research, funded by the Edge Foundation and Gatsby Foundation, was based on reviewing statistical evidence, and conducting interviews with a range of employers to find out how their apprenticeship recruitment had changed following the Levy’s introduction.
The report’s authors – Peter Dickinson and Terence Hogarth – explain the fall in the number of apprenticeship starts with reference to an increasing preference for employers to place people on relatively high level and more costly apprenticeships, and a fall in the number of apprentices being taken on in smaller, non-Levy paying enterprises. There are some transitional effects as well which are likely to be smoothed out with the passage of time.
New report on the contribution of creative freelancers in the UK
Based on research with 85 creative freelancers in Coventry, Northumberland and Waltham Forest, the report 'Mind the Understanding Gap: The Value of Creative Freelancers' provides detail on the contribution of creative freelancers to the economic, societal and place-based impacts of the creative industries.
As the research, led by Coventry University, was undertaken in 2020 throughout the lockdowns, the report also identifies the impact of the pandemic on one of the most vulnerable groups of workers and sectors affected by Covid-19.
This report provides:
- the range of value generation for the economy and for society of creative freelancing,
- a typology of creative freelancers based on their generation of different types of value, and
- policy directions to support the full and sustainable contribution to economy, society and places of creative freelancing.
ReWAGE – Renewing Work Advisory Group of Experts – has launched. Hosted by IER with the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) at Leeds University, it is an expert advisory group to support the government’s strategic response to the recovery and renewal of work and employment in the UK post-Covid. It will sit into 2022.
It will produce evidence papers, policy briefings and reports for government on specialist topics important for maintaining existing jobs, creating new and better jobs and ensuring a return to a well-functioning labour market. Contact ReWAGE for more information.
Teleworking in Europe before and during the pandemic
In a recent webinar, hosted by the Productivity and the Futures of Work GRP at the University of Warwick and facilitated by IER’s Professor Chris Warhurst, Dr Enrique Fernández-Macías of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission examined how Covid-19 had changed the profile of the teleworker and what it meant for the future of work. The recording of the webinar is accessible via the replay link.