An evaluation into performance of the service in reducing unemployment, effectiveness of the delivery process, and participants experience of the service.
The evaluation has outlined some key early findings on the perceived impact of the Out of Work Service (OoWS).
In particular it has highlighted that:
- the service appears to be filling a gap in service provision across Wales
- the service is achieving its aims of helping to improve the labour market for those furthest away from it
- project leads perceived mentors to be key to the success of the framework.
Within service delivery the evaluation has identified challenges in referral and recruitment. These challenges mainly surround competition from other services, a lack of service awareness and high staff turnover. The service has been shown to be working on successful responses to these challenges through building stronger relationships with recruiters and increasing marketing and awareness.
Participants reported overall positive experiences in being matched with their mentors. The service offers a flexible approach to service provision, with the level and type of support provided being tailored to participant needs, which it recognises can change over time.
Despite high caseloads, peer mentors reported their workloads being manageable. However, there have been challenges identified with high mentor turnover and additional administrative responsibilities, making it difficult to consistently focus on delivering high quality support. In certain areas, systems have been developed to manage workloads, reducing this pressure.
At end of January 2019, 8,391 individuals had registered with the OoWS. 9% of all participants leaving the service had entered employment within 28 days of exit, against the target of 15% and 3% of all participants appeared to still be in work after six months. The programme is, however, over-performing against its profiled targets for job search and qualifications.
The evaluation also found a number of ‘soft’ outcomes relating to improving health and wellbeing for participants. Many participants consider the service as more than just an employment support programme and have reported improvements in areas such as confidence and self esteem.
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