Page last updated at 00:33 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Advice to help employment chances

people in job centre
The advice service wants to overcome barriers to returning to work

An advice service helping adults in England to improve their chances in work and training is being piloted by the government.

The adult advancement and careers service (AACS) will offer advice on jobs and learning as well as on issues such as childcare, money and housing.

The "one-stop-shop” service will be freely available to all from 2010, but will be targeted at those most in need.

Ministers pledged a single service on learning work and life last year.

Prior to the national launch in 2010, the AACS will be piloted in ten areas: Greater Manchester; Greater Merseyside; Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire; the Black Country; Brighton and Hove; South Hampshire; Slough; Brent and Ealing; Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth; Islington, Camden and Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

Overcoming barriers

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said many people, particularly mothers, the low-paid and the unemployed, faced barriers which held them back in life.

Research by the department found adults who gained a vocational qualification at GCSE level were more likely to go on to further learning, leading in turn to higher wages.

The launch of the AACS pilot scheme comes after research by the Sutton Trust found a lack of good careers advice meant many gifted poorer pupils were not going to university.

And in March, a study by the educational organisation Edge and the Skills Commission found government-backed careers advice for youngsters and adults was patchy and needed improvement.

Universities Minister John Denham said people found a range of barriers, whether they were seeking work, trying to get a better job, or were worried about redundancy.

"Those barriers are different for everyone - whether finding suitable childcare, understanding employment rights, unblocking problems with housing - and the new service needs to be able to help people tackle them all, changing with them as they change through life.

"To make that happen, services must come together and work in new ways to make sure people seeking advice are seen as individuals, that all their particular needs are fully understood and that advice is provided that draws together everything they need."

The news was welcomed by the Employers' Forum on Disability.

Chief executive Susan Scott-Parker said: "We hope this new service can act as a bridge between the needs of employers and talents of disabled people, particularly those with complex needs who are furthest from the labour market."

Print Sponsor

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