By Anne Bellis, Joy Oakley, Maria Sigala and Sara Dewson
The identification of skills and skills needs is a feature of government employment services and is delivered through Work-Focused Interviews (WFI) conducted by Jobcentre Plus personal advisers. In addition to helping people to prepare and look for work, personal advisers can refer claimants for training provision or careers advice if this is deemed necessary to make a return to the labour market.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to:
- undertake research to explore how ‘skills need’ is defined by Jobcentre Plus personal advisers
- examine how claimants skills needs are identified by advisers at the present time
- build an understanding of how the identification of skills can be embedded within the Jobcentre Plus offer.
This research has been entirely qualitative and is based on observations of 112 WFIs conducted by 57 advisers across ten Jobcentre Plus districts. The collection of evidence included a series of short interviews with personal advisers to probe on key issues arising from the WFIs and the reasons for actions taken by advisers in relation to skills. Fieldwork for the study was carried out between September and November 2010.