Specialist Employability Support (SES) – Final Report
In 2015 the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) secured the Visual Impairment strand of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Specialist Employability Support contract for England, Wales and Scotland to be delivered from 2015 to 2020. The programme was designed to provide a service to people that had some form of visual impairment and were at risk of exclusion from the job market. The programme helped them to secure and sustain employment or self-employment, through an individually tailored combination of guidance, learning in the workplace, work experience and training.
Customers were initially offered a triage service by RNC. Those that were identified as wanting to attend their college based in Herefordshire, joined SES on a residential programme that allowed them to gain qualifications and prepared them to secure employment and receive In-work Support from the RNC College Team. Those customers that did not want to go to the RNC college but still wanted local support, were referred to 3SC and matched to a carefully selected delivery partners (DPs) that had the relevant expertise and were in close proximity to the customer.
As SES was a national contract for England, Scotland and Wales, it was important to identify the DPs that could deliver the programme across all areas and had the capabilities to support customers with a visual impairment. A total of 74 organisations were identified by 3SC over the life cycle of the 5-year SES contract which was the largest employability programme supply chain 3SC has managed to date. Of the 74 organisations, 37 were selected to deliver on the contract.
The SES contract was also one of the longest employability programmes 3SC has delivered. The use of the portal to track and manage referrals and customer data ensured that paperwork was kept to a minimum whilst allowing DPs to concentrate on providing an exceptional level of customer service. The portal also gave 3SC excellent, up to date management information and reports. 3SC assert that being able to identify their own customers that could be referred onto the programme was the biggest turning point for delivery.
As 3SC were working with so many DPs across the country, they had to provide effective and robust performance and quality management and improvement. Their approach delivered this to a high standard and was formally recognised by RNC and during 3SC’s Merlin assessment.
During the lifetime of the programme, 237 customers took part and 189 customers completed the provision.
Although because of COVID, the decision was taken to wrap up the programme 7 months early, the DWP and RNC were extremely pleased with 3SC’s performance and management of the contract. RNC stated during the final SES meeting that even though this was a programme aimed at customers securing employment, the amount of support customers received was excellent and had enabled every customer to move closer to the job market. Customers reported that their confidence was boosted, communication and IT skills had improved, they had obtained qualifications and learnt lots of job seeking and workplace skills.
Read the full SES VI Final Report here: 3SC SES Final Report Final
Paul Johnson, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC