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Social Research

Evaluation of the Skills Conditionality Pilot

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  • Release date: 15 July 2016
Skills Conditionality is a referral mechanism by which individuals claiming unemployment benefits can be mandated onto essential skills training where their lack of skills has been identified as a barrier to finding work.

The objective of the Skills Conditionality Pilot is to explore the effectiveness of conditionality in encouraging individuals to overcome essential skills barriers to employment. The empirical evidence originating from the Pilot will inform longer-term policy decisions concerning the further implementation of mandation.

Findings from the evaluation include:

  • mandating participants onto training had a positive effect on their engagement in training if used in appropriate circumstances
  • that alternatives to mandation should be explored for those identified as having particularly complex issues and who may not be ready for engagement in provision delivered in this format
  • there was quite widespread confusion over mandation
  • co-location of training providers with Work Coaches produced a much greater rate of conversion of referrals to starts.


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