Monday, 15 September 2014

Employment and Skills Week - Leading the Learning

The impact of welfare reform to date and impending Universal Credit means the impetus for landlords to move workless households closer to the job market has never been greater.  Yes, we need the unemployed to take up work-related activities to prevent benefit sanctions (figures from the DWP show the highest number of sanctions against claimants since jobseeker's allowance was introduced in 1996).  But the breadth of the work the sector is currently undertaking is nothing new. In fact, a recent straw poll I undertook with our members on Yammer found that all of the housing associations who responded were core funding their employment programmes and had been doing so for many years.

Employment activities provided by the sector do not extend to just providing work placements but cover the whole spectrum of work-related activity, including tackling basic literacy issues and encouraging tenant involvement, to funding qualifications, providing work placements and providing practical support to tenants who might otherwise have slipped through the net.

It’s therefore really important that the sector links in with adult learning organisations, both at a local and strategic level, to make sure we are able to feed into and influence developments. 

In partnership with CIH Cymru and NIACE Cymru, 22nd – 28th September will be “Leading the Learning” week.  During this week we will be holding a seminar with NIACE, the national voice for life-long learning, the details of which are yet to be announced.

Further opportunities to raise the profile of what the sector is doing in this area are available via Welsh Government’s Lift programme. The programme aims to provide 5,000 training and employment opportunities for people living in households where no-one is in work.  At the moment, the programme is being delivered in nine of the Welsh Government's Communities First clusters until the end of 2017.  The sector will shortly be asked to make a commitment in terms of what it can deliver.
In the meantime, do get on board with our Leading the Learning Week. It’s an opportunity to showcase what we’re already doing and, equally, if your organisation is seeking to increase activity in this area it’s an opportunity for you to participate in some of our suggested activities, which range from tenant shadowing to holding your own work and skills showcase event. 

For more information on Leading the Learning, the Work and Skills Information Sharing Group (which meets in September) or how to get involved on Yammer, please contact

Clare James
Housing Services Policy Officer 

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