ERSA is a strong advocate for the join-up of employment and skills provision.
Many providers with expertise themselves, or through partnerships with learning providers and local colleges, can help jobseekers overcome problems of poor literacy and numeracy, improve IT skills and signpost to vocational training opportunities that significantly help improve the employment prospects of jobseekers.
Skills provision for adults is primarily commissioned via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). ERSA believes that it is vital that employment services providers are able to integrate this support with their own employment-focused programmes given the importance of skills in getting people into and progressing in work.
ERSA is working with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Government more broadly, the Opposition, the Associate Parliamentary Group for Skills and Employment and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) to improve both current and future practice for integrating employment and skills.
ERSA wants to ensure that jobseekers on the Work Programme are easily able to access SFA funded provision such as apprenticeships. We also want to ensure that jobseekers on other employment programmes such as Work Choice can also access SFA provision.
Last year we held a roundtable between Sector Skills Councils and providers to explore how the latter can use their role as intermediaries between employers and the labour force to ensure that skills programmes aimed at unemployed people are appropriately tailored to the needs of the local labour market.