Key lessons from the High Road Project
The 2007-2013 ESF Framework sets out two priorities for the European Social Fund in England:
- Priority 1: Extending employment opportunities
- Priority 2: Developing a skilled and adaptable workforce.
The High Road project has demonstrated the crucial importance of a number of factors in developing successful learning and skills programmes that can help members of disadvantaged groups not only to break into the world of work but also to keep their jobs and progress in their employment.
1. Partnership working
By working together, trade unions and third sector organisations can share good practice, call on specialist expertise and provide a continuity of support to individuals.
2. Peer support
By helping develop agents of change such as ULRs, disability champions and community champions, organisations can offer more and better peer support; this is often the crucial factor in persuading non-traditional learners to access new opportunities.
Projects work best when they focus on what people can do, rather than on what they can’t, which only reinforces feelings of failure.
4. Good-quality information, advice and guidance
Good--quality IAG helps to ensure that people who may have had bad experiences with learning find courses that are appropriate, and thus begin a virtuous cycle of positive engagement with learning.
Working with employers to promote workforce diversity is key to developing opportunities for individuals and groups who have experienced disadvantage and discrimination.
It is vital that the targets for Level 2 qualifications are seen not as an end in themselves but as creating a sound foundation from which people can further develop in the future.