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Employability and Training - . what works, for whom, in what context?. Employment Research Institute Vanesa Fuertes, Prof Ronald McQuaid and Dr Valerie Egdell. Contents. UK Policy Context Employability, Skills and Active Labour Market Policies ( ALMPs)

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Employability and training

Employability and Training -

what works, for whom, in what context?

Employment Research Institute

Vanesa Fuertes, Prof Ronald McQuaid and Dr Valerie Egdell


  • UK Policy Context

  • Employability, Skills and Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs)

  • Training and Employment Outcomes: what works, for whom, in what context?

Uk policy context
UK Policy Context

  • Socio-economic context

  • Coalition government 2010 principles

    • Fairness

    • Responsibility

    • Freedom

  • Welfare reform

    • Universal Credit (one welfare payment instead of a complex system of benefits)

    • Work Programme (black-box delivery payment by results and group)

  • Localism

  • Skills Strategy

  • Integrated Employment and Skills (IES)

Welfare to work towards social cohesion
Welfare to Work towards Social Cohesion

Welfare provision

no ‘magic bullet’

(Hasluck and Green, 2007;

Ritchie et al., 2009)

Demand-side policies


careers services

Employment services
Employment Services




  • Employability definition

    • Individual factors

    • Personal circumstances

    • Structural factors

    • Tight labour market (availability of jobs)

  • Multiple, overlapping and cumulative issues

  • Services tailored to individuals

  • Need for integrated approaches

The integration challenge

Employment policy

Social assistance

Training and Education

Economic development


Childcare and housing

Skills and almps
Skills and ALMPs

  • Basic, generic, technical

  • Importance (Human Capital theory and Economic theory)

    • Participation in the labour market

    • Savings to public budget

    • Social mobility

  • Work First vsTrain First

Ies service
IES Service

  • Co-location of JCP and ‘nextstep’ advice services

  • ‘Light touch’ assessment – more detailed assessment or provision

  • Success factors:

    • Integration of careers services

    • Collaboration between partners

    • At local level with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) being important

    • Simple and flexible processes

Training and Employment Outcomes:

what works, for whom, in what context?

Skills interventions and employment outcomes
Skills Interventions andEmployment Outcomes

  • Lack of robust evidence

  • Some models better than others: basic training vs. occupational training

  • Jobcentre Plus (JCP) training: employment focus – link to entry-level qualifications (e.g. Flexible New Deal)

  • Link between Further Education colleges and JCP advisers

  • Most effective interventions: labour market contact – work experience – in-work training

Training models and employment outcomes
Training Models and Employment Outcomes

  • Basic employability training

  • Occupationally-focussed training

  • Vocational training

  • Apprenticeships

Welfare to work wtw what works for whom in what context
Welfare to Work (WtW): what works, for whom, in what context?

  • General factors

    • Motivation

    • Work experience/simulation

    • Match training to labour market demand and individuals’ skills and needs

    • Buy-in

  • Disadvantaged groups

    • Young people

    • Older people

    • Single parents

    • Disabled or health problems

    • Ethnic minorities

    • Long-term unemployed

Transitions success factors of skills interventions
Transitions – Success Factors of Skills Interventions

  • Less rigid designs - more flexible and personal approaches

  • Skills and career planning at the core

  • Multiple skills interventions

  • Match training provision to learners’ needs and labour market skills’ needs –local solutions

  • Work-base - work experience/simulation context and settings

  • Holistic package of active measures – pipeline approach

Progression success factors of skills interventions
Progression – Success Factors of Skills Interventions

  • Employee demand – policy interventions

    • Financial support; career guidance

  • Employer investment – policy interventions

    • Training levies; individual rights; occupational licensing; tax incentives; general subsidies; public procurement

  • General

    • Availability of jobs; self-efficacy and skills utilisation; access to training opportunities; progression pathways

Strategic skills pipeline
Strategic Skills Pipeline

Source: City of Edinburgh, Integrated Employability Service Commissioning Strategy 2012-2015 (21 June 2011) Consultation Draft, The City of Edinburgh Council

Sources used
Sources used

  • Devins, D., Bickerstaffe, T., Nunn, A., Mitchell, B., McQuaid, R, Egdell, V. and Lindsay C. (2011) The Role of Skills from Worklessness to Sustainable Employment with Progression, Evidence Report 38, UK Commission for Employment and Skills

  • Bond, S., McQuaid, R and V. Fuertes (2010) ‘Getting Disadvantaged Parents into Employment: The Working for Families Fund in Scotland’, Local Economy, 24, 6/7, 487-501.

  • Canduela, J., Dutton, M., Johnston, S., Lindsay, C., McQuaid, R.W. and Raeside, R. (2012) ‘Ageing, Skills and Participation in Work-Related Training in Britain: Assessing the Position of Older Workers’, Work Employment and Society 26,1, 42-60.

  • City of Edinburgh Council (21 June 2011) City of Edinburgh, Integrated Employability Service Commissioning Strategy 2012-2015 Consultation Draft, CEC and Joined Up For Jobs

  • Foster, S., Casebourne, J., Roberts, E. and Lake, L. (2011) Integrated employment and skills, Maximising the contribution for sustainable employment, Centre for economic & social Inclusion, JHP Group Limited

  • Garrett, R., Campbell, M. and Mason, G (2010) The Value of Skills: And Evidence Review, UK Commission for Employment and Skills

  • Hasluck, C. and Green, A. (2007) What works for whom? A review of evidence and meta-analysis for the Department for Work and Pensions, Research Report 407, DWP

  • Lanning, T. and Lawton K. (2012) No Train No Gain, Beyond free market and state-led skills policy, Institute for Public Policy Research

  • Leitch, S (2006) Prosperity for all in the global economy: world class skills, London: the Stationery Office

  • Levesley et al., (2009) Qualitative evaluation of integrated employment and skills trials: Implementation report, Research Report 618, Department for Work and Pensions

  • McQuaid, R. and Hollywood, E. (2011) Mapping the Education System in Scotland

  • McQuaid, R., Fuertes, V., Egdell, V. and Bergmann, A. (2010) Promoting Investment and Increasing Employment Among the Economically Inactive: Review of Best Practice, Report commissioned by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Northern Ireland.

  • McQuaid, R., Fuertes, V. and A. Richard (2010) How can parents escape from recurrent poverty? Report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation: York. Published by Polity Press: Bristol.

  • McQuaid, R.W. and C. Lindsay (2005) ‘The Concept of Employability’, Urban Studies, 42, 2, 197-219.

  • UKCES (April 2011) Review of Employment and Skills, UKCES report

  • UKCES (July 2011) Review of Employment and Skills (Scotland), UKCES report

Contact details
Contact Details

Employment Research Institute


Edinburgh Napier University


Vanesa Fuertes

[email protected]