Evaluation reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the Access Programme in increasing employability skills of unemployed adults close to the labour market.

The Access Programme is designed specifically to assist those with a reasonable chance of being ready for employment within six months.

The Programme is delivered in partnership by Welsh Government and Careers Wales and will run until the introduction of the Welsh Government’s employability programme, Jobs Support Wales in spring 2020.

Programme administration and delivery

The evaluation found that, overall, the programme was successfully administered and delivered. The multi-agency approach was considered to work well by both Welsh Government and Careers Wales, for example:

  • the referral service may help to reduce administrative costs to Welsh Government
  • Welsh Government support adds value in helping Careers Wales’ clients to secure employment.

The findings suggest that Welsh Government’s high-level operational function is complemented by Careers Wales’ referral service, detailed knowledge on the labour market and local delivery.

Participant support

A major finding of the evaluation was that Careers Wales advisers framed the Access Programme as a part of a longer-term journey into employment. As such, the programme is unlikely to lead to employment on its own. Advisers felt that it was important to manage participants’ expectations of what could be achieved through accessing the programme.

They also reported that participants needed encouragement to develop soft skills, such as job searching and interview skills, to be able to effectively secure employment.

Rate of uptake and impact

Vocational training was the most taken-up element of support offered by the programme. It also had the biggest impact on employment outcomes, where achieving qualifications helped participants to meet minimum job requirements.

There was some evidence to suggest that programme participation increased confidence even when employment was not secured. This type of soft skill may help move some participants closer to employment in the future.

Uptake rates of Employer Recruitment Support and Employer Training Support offered by the programme were lower than initially anticipated. The evaluation found limited evidence of additionality provided by these forms of support.

Reports

Evaluation of the Access Programme, 2017 to 2019
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Evaluation of the Access Programme, 2017 to 2019: summary
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