Employability is defined as a combination of factors and processes which enable people to progress towards or get into employment, to stay in employment, and to move on in the workplace.
Opportunities Fife is the local employability partnership. The interests of the voluntary sector are represented at the strategic level of this partnership by CVS Fife's Manager Bryan Poole. Other key sector people play representative roles within the structure of Opportunities Fife.
The voluntary/third sector is widely perceived to play a key role in the employability agenda. The Fife landscape is broad and varied, with organisations contributing to this key agenda in a number of ways:
CVS Fife's Engagement in Employability project is funded through Fairer Scotland until March 2012. The first phase of the project ran from March 2009 - March 2011. The project was formed in response to growing recognition (local and national government) that voluntary/third sector organisations play an important role in engaging with those who are furthest away from the labour market. One of the project's key aims is to engage with organisations that do not see employability as an area of focus and encourage them to recognise and record the contribution they are making to employability through work related to softer outcomes such as confidence building, developing motivation and improving societal contribution.
Through the project we found that many organisations in the sector still viewed employability as being about getting someone into a paid job. We had work to do in raising awareness that employability is about progression; for some people leaving the house to go for a coffee will be a significant milestone, while for others taking up supported voluntary work or getting benefits advice can be important steps on the road to work. We can now evidence that this message has been picked up by a broad range of 'non employability' organisations. This is due to indicators like participation in the Soft Outcomes Conference, involvement in Future jobs Fund programme, 16 Plus Learning Choices Activity Agreements and attendance at Voluntary Sector Employability Forums. However, what we found through the initial pilot work is that while non employability organisations do make significant contributions to the employability agenda, without dedicated resources it is difficult for organisations to take this further and to gather the evidence of impact.
The second phase of the project began in April 2011 and will run till March 2012. With recognition from Opportunities Fife that non employability services are often closer to the client base than mainstream agencies and therefore have a key role engaging clients around employability and making referrals, CVS Fife secured additional Fairer Scotland funding to run an advanced pilot project with Clued Up and Kirkcaldy YMCA:
Clued Up is a drug and alcohol awareness service with a reputation for providing good quality support and advice as well as information and educational materials. Clued Up is committed to involving young people in all aspects of its work with the aim of encouraging them to make positive lifestyle changes. With the additional staff resources, Clued Up now runs a weekly Employability Clinic within the Kirkcaldy drop in. The focus of the clinics is to get young people thinking about work and their experiences, address some of the difficulties or barriers to work they may face, help young people identify their strengths and interest and to get the support they need to progress towards work. For more information contact Jayne Preece on 01592 858248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kirkcaldy YMCA provides opportunities through a variety of educational and recreational programmes for young people, but open to all ages. They have assisted young people to achieve Youth Achievement Awards (YAA) for a number of years. YAAs encourage young people to take responsibility in selecting, planning and leading group activities and support the development of a wide range of life skills. With additional staff resources, Kirkcaldy YMCA is now able to increase the volume of young people working towards Youth Achievement Awards and dedicate a drop in session to completing challenges. For more information contact Shuggy Hughes on 01592 645530 or email email@example.com
The aim of the advanced pilot is to demonstrate the impact additional resources within non employability organisations can make in progressing people in their employability journeys. This will strengthen referrals to mainstream providers, as well as providing Opportunities Fife with qualitative evidence which may develop a better reach into disadvantaged client groups. CVS Fife's Engagement in Employability Development Officer oversees the central coordination of the pilot, and continues to support the Voluntary Sector Employability Forum's Executive Group, which includes representatives from all Opportunities Fife funded voluntary sector projects.
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Marri Welsh (Development Officer)
CVS Fife, 23-27 Randolph Street, Buckhaven, Fife KY8 1AT
T: 01592 567001 - E: firstname.lastname@example.org