Search by theme

To help you sort through the examples we’ve categorised each entry by theme. These themes relate to areas that we think are key challenges for supporting people into decent work, and where we think there is need for innovation. There may be other themes which we’ve not yet identified – if you think of any, we’d love to hear from you.

Below we provide a short explanation of each theme. Click on a title to see all the examples in that theme on the Living Map.

Employment Readiness

Having the right skills, knowledge, attributes, and self belief are critical factors in gaining employment. Some face more significant challenges to entering employment, for example through a lack of education or training, insufficient careers guidance, or lack  of work experience. This category brings together some of the most innovative ways of helping people prepare for the labour market.

New forms of working

While there is disagreement about just how rapidly labour markets are structurally changing, greater attention has focused on  new  forms of working such as freelancing, part-time work, self-employment and the “gig” economy. Here we’ve gathered platforms and organisations which are helping facilitate new models of work.

Overcoming the barriers to employment

Some people face significant or complex barriers to entering employment.  These barriers include  mental and physical disability, histories of substance abuse or offending, poor education, or childcare and caring responsibilities – and, of course, any combination of these problems. Under this heading we look at initiatives helping people address these barriers in new or different ways.  

Integrated employment support

Integration of services and programmes has the potential to substantially reduce costs, and also to create real service improvements that support much better outcomes. Bringing services such as health, employment, skills and housing support together in new ways offers exciting possibilities. There are some great examples of public, private and third sector collaboration, which help provide a more personalised approach. Here we have included some great examples of integrated employment support.   

Unleashing untapped assets for employment support

There are assets within our communities – unused buildings and spaces; people’s knowledge and experience; people’s time –  which if effectively harnessed can be powerful tools to support people into employment. Experts by experience, for example, are more widely used in fields such as health, but are largely overlooked in employment. It’s one of the most exciting fields, since it can have an impact not just on employment but also on local economic growth, community spirit and the environment. Taking assets in the broadest sense, we’ve brought together some of the best examples here.

Improving matching of people to work

Often in labour markets the problem is not so much a lack of jobs but rather a failure to effectively match people to suitable jobs. People might not know where to look for jobs, or they might live far away from those jobs. On a larger scale there can be a mismatch between the training opportunities, skills of individuals and the needs of employers and the economy. We’ve brought together a number of examples which are attempting to bridge this gap.

Supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship can play an important role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs. Appropriate support can be incredibly valuable to people in setting up their business, as well as running and growing it. For example, innovations in this category might break down the barriers to becoming self-employed, starting a business or taking on an employee. Or they might seek to minimise risk, to improve access to finance or to provide peer and group support.  

In-work support

Over the last 20-30 years employment support has focused primarily on helping people into work. However, supporting people to stay in work and the through the steps to develop their career has often been the missing piece of the jigsaw. Here we’ve listed a few examples of innovations which focus on helping people in work.

Innovative employer engagement

Helping people into work requires the buy-in of employers, but they have often been seen as an “empty chair” at the table. Many organisations are realising the business and social case of increased involvement in more inclusive employment support, and support providers are simultaneously realising the benefits of working more closely with employers. Here we have included some interesting examples of employer engagement.