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Thursday, 3rd February 2011

UK: Signing on: Experiences of worklessness in Birmingham

Signing on: Experiences of worklessness in Birmingham


This report maps the journeys of Birmingham residents seeking work in the second half of 2010 and reflecting on their experiences, makes recommendations for how employability support could be changed in the future - both to improve the rate of jobseekers finding work and to save the public purse money.


The commissioners, Birmingham's Working Neighbourhoods Fund and Local Government Improvement and Development, wanted to understand the lived experience of being out of work, the root causes of local people's worklessness and why some individuals disengaged from employability schemes before they found work.


In the second half of 2010 we carried out 50 in depth interviews and day-in-the-life-of studies with job seekers, as well as interviews with the employability support agencies.


This research was commissioned to build a better picture of the underlying issues of worklessness in order to develop a range of new options for supporting those out of work. As the government cuts funding for employability support and rolls out the Single Work Programme (SWP), we suggest a number of recommendations for the raft of new providers who will soon be delivering employability support; from redoubling efforts to create apprenticeships, to using social networks for job hunts and working with whole families not just individuals.

Direct link to report (PDF; 3.8 MB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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