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Case Study: Job Centre Plus

Rationale

During October 2007, the Essential Skills Centre worked with Job Centre Plus in Coventry and Warwickshire to train their Advisers in Essential Skills Awareness. Research supports the notion that those with lower literacy and numeracy skills are more likely to be out of work and managers at Job Centre Plus had prioritised this training for their staff in acknoweldgement of that fact. It was also timely, given that the new Basic Skills Employability Programme had recently been launched, with the dual purpose of developing both the employability skills and literacy and numeracy skills of clients.

 

Overview of the project

The Essential Skills Centre first delivered a session to managers responsible for frontline adviser staff across Coventry and Warwickshire. This session was a one-hour delivery, which focused on the national and international scale of need in adult skills, the national skills strategy and the relationship to the role of Job Centre Plus. After this event, two senior managers from Job Centre Plus met with the trainer to convey feedback from this event and to discuss the different needs of adviser staff, in relation to essential skills awareness.

A second awareness-raising session was planned and delivered to 3 large groups of advisers across Coventry and Warwickshire. It was delivered as part of a whole day's development for adviser staff. This time, the focus was on helping advisers to appreciate how it must feel to have difficulties in literacy and numeracy, as well as offer practical strategies for helping the clients they meet to address those skills needs and refer them onto appropriate provision.

The sessions were evaluated by Job Centre Plus as part of their whole programme of training (see evaluation report).

Future developments

As a result of these awareness-raising sessions, Job Centre Plus, Coventry and Warwickshire, have now identified a cohort of key frontline worker staff for whom they would like a more in-depth training in this area. This is currently under negotiation and will be delivered through WMCETT in the autumn, 2008.

Training timetable

Phase 1 (adviser awareness-raising): September-October 2007

Phase 2 (frontline worker training): Autumn 2008

Training statistics

Numbers trained:

40 managers

128 advisers 

72% rated training very good

23% rated training good

Evaluation report (Word Document)

Materials

JCP Advisers (Powerpoint Presentation)

Key contact

Sara Hattersley