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What’s next for The Work Programme?

Anyone familiar with the delivery of the Work Programme in its current phase, is acutely aware of the many and varied challenges presented by customers who in an era of ever increasing employment, still find themselves unable to access paid work.

JCP managers and staff are all too well aware that customers being referred to the programme at this stage, have health or behavioural issues which need increasingly resourceful management. Meanwhile, Work Programme providers are desperate to identify new, cost effective and ever more innovative ways to engage customers and move them steadily closer to the workplace.

It’s no secret that some Work Programme providers are rising more readily than others to the referral to sustainment challenge.

I bet you’ve often wondered how that works, right?

Some of the smartest providers are already developing tools and partnerships which confidently support front line activity, by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of common issues such as addiction, anxiety, stress and the management of chronic pain. The goal is to improve signposting and of course, to better identify the most effective route to a job-ready level of recovery.

This specialised approach helps to generate advisor led conversations, opening with well-informed questions, raised in a manner designed to promote customer engagement.

Obviously, the ultimate goal is to match customers with agencies and employers who are prepared to work closely with providers to ensure the continuance of support for in work customers and, critically, maintain an open line of communication with their line managers until the end of the Work Programme journey.

So how would it be if Work Programme providers also chose to empower their customers by offering them access to the same learning as their advisor?

Not only would the initiative help customers to develop key work skills, it might also encourage a better understanding and acceptance of their own barriers, potentially supporting a genuinely meaningful advisor/customer dialogue, with the single, clear aim of developing a unique and meaningful return to work route. This can be done by identifying improved coping techniques, promoting ownership of the journey and developing the kind of confidence that really, only ever comes from education.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

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