Workforce Development Programme
We are proud to be working with many funders under Propel, a long-term funding initiative supported by London Funders will tackle root causes, not just systems. In line with London Recovery Board missions, Propel focuses its funding on three main areas: A New Deal for Young People, Building Stronger Communities and Robust Safety Net. LLST’s focus, together with some London funders, including Trust for London, The City Bridge Trust, The National Lottery Community Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Legal Education Foundation, is on the Robust Safety Net, the advice strand of Propel’s work.
The workforce crisis
The advice sector has many challenges, particularly under current circumstances, where the demand for advice increases almost daily, but resources stay the same. An immediate and ongoing challenge identified by the advice sector is the difficulty in developing an effective and sustainable career pathway which attracts and builds the workforce. The issue, described by many as a workforce crisis, is so deep that some legal aid contract holders are at the point of giving up their contracts because they cannot find housing supervisors. Similarly, there are not enough employment advisers, immigration supervisors and housing advisers. A need was identified to support workforce issues facing the advice sector in London. If you’d like to find out more about the work of this group of key London advice funders, you can read our Skills Gap Report.
Funded programme partners
Following an application and shortlisting process, 8 partnerships were funded with a total of £3.8m (£4.15m with match funding) being allocated for this work. Below is a brief summary of the funded work:
Using a Whole Person, Whole Community Approach that AdviceUK has developed, the project will build Workforce Pathways that strengthens some of their member organisations that serve minority ethnic communities and vulnerable migrants in London. They will support vocational qualifications including Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance and Level 4 Diploma in Advice and guidance.
DISABILITY LAW SERVICE
The project will train new social welfare solicitors and support generalist advisors in local DDPOs to offer Disabled people advice in a new, holistic model. Reaching new audiences at an early stage and in accessible settings will develop a blueprint for wider replication with other DDPOs. The partnership is between Disability Law Service (DLS) and Real.
This grant will enable Deaf and Disabled peoples’ organisations (DDPOs) to develop and test three ‘grow our own’ advice workforce interventions. The partnership is between 6 DDPOs led by Inclusion Barnet, with Inclusion London providing capacity building support. The workforce interventions include traineeship ‘entry’ points into advice work for Disabled people, career progression pathways for existing advice staff into casework, supervision and support and training to develop inclusive workforce recruitment, progression and retention.
INDOAMERICAN REFUGEE AND MIGRANT ORGANISATION (IRMO)
This workforce development programme will train new advisors and upskill existing staff. Trainees will undertake a one-year paid programme with knowledge-based training related to a specific advice area: welfare, housing and immigration, with training on the practices/process of advice work (Advice UK RQF Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance). A development programme and holistic support provision for existing staff at all levels will be offered. This includes training in new or more complex areas of advice, robust supervision, networking/relationship development, peer support, wellbeing practices and clinical supervision.
The ‘Grow Your Own Advice’ Incubator is a pioneering workforce development programme, supporting diverse, London-based community organisations to ‘grow their own’ advice workers. This is a partnership led by Money A&E with Fair Money Advice and 15 community organisations. There will be two adviser trainee cohorts (one for debt advice and one for welfare advice) delivered over two years, each involving technical skills group training sessions, Money Mentor group sessions, soft skills training and development sessions, and 1:1 advice and support sessions for participants.
LEGAL ADVICE CENTRE (UNIVERSITY HOUSE)
This work will support and supervise solicitor apprentices from disadvantaged communities, as well as upskilling community agencies to become more specialist legal agencies. Apprentices will be trained to become specialist solicitors in social welfare law, and advice workers and volunteers in community organisations across six boroughs will be provided with specialist casework training on key subjects.
LAW CENTRES NETWORK
The project will create a cohort of newly qualified solicitors across 14 boroughs. Apprenticeships will be targeted at people rooted in local and minoritized communities, with personal experience of everyday life problems. This will give opportunity to existing staff otherwise unable to afford to qualify, recruit and train people from local communities and offer paid internships to targeted groups.
Apprentices will be trained to become specialist solicitors in social welfare law, and advice workers and volunteers in community organisations will be provided with specialist casework training on key subjects.
WANDSWORTH CITIZENS ADVICE
This partnership, led by Wandsworth CAB includes four other London Citizens Advice. In Wandsworth, it will build the capacity of community organisations and train two fully qualified advisers. There will also be trainee opportunities for placements, and creation of resources to develop a robust pay policy and employment pathway that other London Citizens Advice can replicate.
This project will increase the advice workforce, as well as develop a more sustainable, diverse and community-based advice sector in Wandsworth and other local authorities.
If you have any queries about the Workforce Development Programme, please contact: [email protected]