Partnership project puts South Londoners on the right path to employment

Over 1,200 people in South London have been helped to overcome barriers and progress towards employment. 539 – nearly half – have secured paid employment thanks to the support they have received from the Pathways to Employment project.

Funded by the boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, Pathways to Employment was a partnership of these boroughs working with St Giles Trust as the lead of four other providers – Southwark Works, Women Like Us, Green Man Skills Zone and Tomorrow’s People. It specifically helped people who faced often multiple and complex barriers to work and needed a lot of support in order to access the jobs market.


By the end of the project, 315 (58%) of those in work had been supported to sustain for a minimum of 26 weeks; much higher than the number expected by the DWP. Keyworkers worked hard to support people to access and obtain good, sustainable employment opportunities that will enable them to flourish and continue to sustain in work beyond the duration of the project.


Pathways to Employment has exceeded all the key targets set by the funder in what has been an increasingly challenging employment market with the popularity of zero hours contracts and changes to the benefits system which have added further barriers to some people seeking employment. Keyworkers on the team offered additional in-depth support to clients affected by these issues.


Started in May 2016, the Pathways to Employment clients typically experienced issues such as homelessness, debt, financial issues, lack of skills and health problems all of which can prevent people gaining employment. Staff in job centres referred people with high thresholds of need to the project's keyworkers who delivered specialist one-to-one support tailored to each individual’s needs and aspirations.


Keyworkers worked intensively with the clients to get them the help they needed to overcome any barriers, increase their confidence, build their skills and access opportunities around employment, training and volunteering.


People who benefitted from Pathways to Employment were also able to access the employment support and IT facilities available at St Giles Trust’s Camberwell-based office in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They received professional support with a range of areas, such as developing CVs, completing applications and mock job interviews.


“Pathways to Employment helped people for whom paid work seemed like an impossible prospect before they started work with the project,” said St Giles Trust CEO Rob Owen. “Now nearly half of them have progressed to employment and independence and the remainder are well on the way to doing so. It proves that with the right help, people facing heavy disadvantages can still make a positive contribution to society.”


The project ended on 31 March. In addition to employment, 781 people were helped to make positive additional progress around addressing issues such as housing, debt, health needs and improving skills.