For the last couple of years, Work Programme contracts have seen a much higher number of customers with multiple, complex barriers to employment, this can often result in these customers not engaging with their Work Programme provider.
To increase engagement and present a softer side to the Work Programme, the Shaw Trust in Swindon and Weston-super-Mare have set up and run weekly arts and crafts sessions.
They are peer led and the customers decide the content and activities that will be included in the projects. For example, painting, card making, poster making and making sculptures from papier-mâché.
The sessions also incorporate a teambuilding exercise to help the attendees develop their confidence and interaction with others.
This approach has increased attendance with many customers who have historically failed to engage with their Work Programme provision. Many have gone on to join the more traditional sessions that cover employability skills and training, and this arrangement has seen progression into work too. For example, one client who struggled to leave their house has now started working for a reputable financial services company in a support role.