The Good Work and Care Conundrum

The Good Work and Care Conundrum

If I were to ask any council or employment and skills partnership about their employment and skills recovery plans, I bet all of them have referenced the importance of Good Work and the role of health and social care as a key sector for employment.  I know this because I have spent the last year supporting councils and researching recovery strategies to understand how places are responding to the employment and skills challenges. 

Can Good Work be achieved in the Care sector?

Pre-pandemic the health and social care sector played an important role in employment and skills strategies, in part due to the volume of vacancies, the need for care provision and the numbers of residents employed in the sector. In areas where there was nearly full employment recruiting into health and social care positions was difficult. When I worked on a sector strategy for health and social care back in 1998, the sector, although important, was considered then to be a poor relation compared to construction, technology, manufacturing and logistics in terms of focus for growth. I am not convinced that this view had changed much since. But Covid-19 has shone a light on the health and social care sector and brought its critical role and opportunities for employment recovery into sharp focus.

However, the sector has always struggled with recruitment and retention, and domiciliary care is a particular challenge. The 2019/20 research from Skills for Care [1] highlighted that there are over 50,000 vacancies in domiciliary care at any one time, vacancy rates were at 35% and 178,000 left the sector that year. 42% of the domiciliary care workforce are employed on zero-hours contracts rising to 56% for care workers. This picture has hardly changed in the past eight years. Although there have been moves to promote a Real Living Wage, pay still lags behind. A report by the Institute for Employment Studies for the Health Foundation on Covid-19, government policy and the sector highlighted the financial challenges faced by workers who have to go off sick and rely on Statutory Sick Pay [2]. Anecdotal evidence from a consultation we led into domiciliary care workers highlighted issues of over-working and not taking sick leave even though they had a health condition.

The issues are endemic and the precarity of work in care is not a new phenomenon.

We know that having flexibility around work can be really helpful. But I do think that the care sector, particularly domiciliary care, where 84% of carers are female, the workforce is ageing and 54% work part-time, we cannot ignore that reconciling the ambitions for Good Work, care commissioning and moving people into the sector as part of economic recovery is a big challenge for places. And an issue of inequality of ethnicity (in places, London has a high proportion of workers from ethnic minorities), gender, age, health and income.

So what can be done?

Although most domiciliary care workers are in the independent sector, local authorities have a role to play as commissioners of care. We have seen commitments to embedding the Real Living Wage into contracts in London and pay has increased. But this is one dimension to applying Good Work. Carers need better conditions and greater security of their income as we know that financial insecurity is a key contributing factor for impacting on mental health [3]. We also know that the hours carers work, shift work and lack of planning can add to carers stress in moving from client to client and not having sufficient time for self-care. The pay rates set by local authorities for domiciliary care are tight and do not have sufficient flex in them to provide the kind of employer support and help permanent workers get. This results in a vacuum of support for carers that probably need it most, especially as they are generally sole workers and have limited opportunity for socialising and meeting their co-workers.

The Scottish Government recently committed to a number of fair work measures for Scottish care workers including the Real Living Wage, improving the working conditions for staff, and giving staff an effective voice about workforce conditions. The challenge ahead in Scotland will be how to fulfil these promises within the already strained financial situation of the Health and Social Care Partnerships in Scotland who will be expected to implement these commitments. [4]

Since before the pandemic we have been wrestling with how to tackle this challenge and what could be the drivers for change. There is a business case to be made to make working conditions better to tackle the high staff turnover experienced in the sector and to ensure continuity of care for people, but this will cost money.  There is also a case to be made on in-work about ensuring the health of care workers and the support they need to manage their financial situation and stay out of poverty. Again this requires investment but with constrained public finances, fulfilling Good Work promises within the sector seem to be both unrealistic and undeliverable.

Some ideas for change

Despite this we think there are opportunities for changing the status quo. Our learning from delivering the Challenge Fund for the Work and Health Unit, tested innovations for supporting people with health conditions to remain in work. This highlighted that simple and low cost solutions such as advice for employers, providing wrap around support for people who needed financial help and getting early access to support were key to prevention.

Here are some ideas for how to bring Good Work and care work closer together.

Firstly, we need to take a place-based approach to understand the dynamics of the sector and how to respond. Our study, although small, highlighted that most care workers lived and worked in the same local authority meaning that reaching out to them and connecting them to existing support becomes easier. This includes both advice and guidance, mental health, financial and other in-work support.

Secondly, most Councils are supporting local businesses through grants, business advice and support. Targeting investment and tailoring support for care businesses would be a practical way of supporting them with their recruitment and retention.

Thirdly, we think that any local investment or strategy needs to be scrutinised through a Good Work Assessment Lens, where councils and their partners can use all of their levers such as commissioning, social value and other gifts to ensure that Good Work can be achieved in practice across all sectors and through all pathways.

Finally we think that levelling up also needs to focus on sectors where pay and conditions lag behind others. True change can only be achieved if there is the financial will and means to make it happen. Someone recently mentioned at an event on future work that they felt the care sector is broken, if this is the case then lets make that investment work better.

We are really interested in talking to others about how to bridge the gap between Good Work and other sectors where pay and conditions make it difficult to do, like self-employment. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Caroline Masundire is a Director of Rocket Science based in our London office. You can contact her at

We need to prevent Covid-19 halting the progress we have made on health and work.

We need to prevent Covid-19 halting the progress we have made on health and work.

Caroline Masundire reflects on our learning and experience of innovations in health and work and what we can do to minimise impacts Covid-19 will have on employees with health conditions


Covid-19 aside, May was quite a momentous month for me. For the past two years I have been leading Rocket Science’s role in managing the Government’s Work and Health Unit’s Challenge Fund and in May, I completed our overall programme and learning reports.

The Fund, launched in the summer of 2018 was designed to test innovative approaches to help people with Musculo-skeletal and/or mental health conditions stay in work, avoid long term sickness and unemployment. It was part of the Government’s ten-year strategy to get a million more disabled people into work.

We worked closely with 19 Initiatives, ranging from providing rapid access to occupational health support in clinical and community settings, through to direct support and advice in workplaces to capture their learning, understand their impact and identify what worked and what did not. During this time we were also working with other organisations on health and employment issues, including evaluating Fair Start Scotland. All of this experience combined illustrated the difficult challenges both individuals and employers face when managing health conditions at work.

The Challenge Fund was launched at a time of near full employment, we can argue about the quality of employment, but nonetheless the policy and funding focus had shifted to supporting people in work to stay in work and progress or to help those furthest away from the labour market move towards work.

During the Fund, the disability gap was closing (by 5.6 percentage points from July -September 2013) reducing by 1.6 percentage points just in 2019. Evidence was developing about the role of work in giving people the motivation to better manage their health condition and slow down its progression keep them in work for longer and improve their health. There was increasing recognition of the role of good work and conditions in helping to manage workplace wellbeing, reduce staff turnover and help reduce the skills gap. Mental health was widely talked about and supported and funds such as Access to Work provided a lifeline to help people to stay in work.

The arrival of Covid-19 will seriously impact on the progress we have made on health and work.

As services shift to get Britain back to work and the need to prioritise those that can get back to work quickly, the focus and resources supporting those furthest from the labour market are at risk. Our fortnightly Covid, Coffee and Catchup sessions with people in employment services is highlighting how precarious the situation is and the risk that resources will inevitably have to be redeployed to focus on those who are ready for work. There is also the risk that any announcements for the Chancellor in his emergency budget on support programmes will focus on helping people who can easily get back to work more quickly.

We are yet to understand the impact of Covid-19 on the employment rates of people with health conditions, but it is fair to assume that furloughing will have had an impact with the potential for redundancy and likelihood of unemployment for some. Older people are more likely to suffer from health conditions and the latest data on Universal Credit claims showed that around a fifth of people claiming were over 50.

Some people will also have been at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19 because of their work, statistics from the ONS in May 2020, highlighted that 15% of key workers who had a health condition were at moderate risk of contracting the virus. This begs the question on how sustainable is ‘key work’ for people with a health condition, especially if there is a second wave.


These are uncertain times and we are still finding our way on the road to recovery, but we cannot afford to lose sight of the progress we were making and the learning we were developing on how to keep people with health conditions in work.

At the heart of any  approach must be how we:

• support employers to protect employees with health conditions already in work
• help those who have been made redundant or need to change careers because of their health condition
• assist those in need to access other services and support so they don’t fall into crisis.

Three things we can do!

1. Our learning from working with employers is that they are more likely to engage if they need help with a particular issue. As local authorities and other agencies are supporting employers to provide them with grants and business support, it is an ideal opportunity to work with them to identify employees who are at risk of losing their job and because of their condition will find it more difficult to find an alternative role. This includes reviewing workplace adjustments so they can be adapted to new rules of working, negotiating working hours if people need to reduce or increase working hours and offering help to the employee so that they can stay in work.

We found that businesses including SMEs do want to engage, they just need help to understand what they can do to help and a positive experience leads to greater opportunities to support them with staff and workplace practice.

2. We know that for employees who are working insecure, temporary or low paid work, reductions in their income can be make or break for them. The rise in Universal Credit claims illustrates that people are using this safety net, but we know that people will need help navigating the complexities of this as well as help with income maximisation.

Our learning has showed that the kinds of support offered to people to help them get into work such as benefits, housing and debt advice is equally important to help people in work avoid crisis. This can be effective in helping them sustain their employment as well as support their mental health.

3. Finally we need to help people to think broadly about their skillsets and the types of alternative work they can do, especially if they have been out of the jobs market for some time. We know that focusing on an asset-based approach can help people to think more broadly about what they can bring to a role, open their eyes to opportunities they would normally dismiss and support them with job search.

Building people’s skills in job search is really important as is giving them coaching and support to work through the role, the workplace adjustments they might need to have in place and to be confident in having these discussions with their employer.

We can go someway to minimise the impact of Covid-19 for those more vulnerable workers, but we must ensure longer term, that this does not become a reason to stop the progress we were making on healthy work.

Get in touch to find out more about our work.

Caroline is an Associate Director at Rocket Science based in our London office.  You can check out her profile here.
Covid, Coffee and Catchup – join in the conversation!

Covid, Coffee and Catchup – join in the conversation!

Over the past month, we have been holding informal discussions with employment leads in Local Authorities, providers and funders to think about what employment support responses are needed as we move from crisis to recovery.  We have done some thinking about the need for greater coherence locally and the role local authorities can play as well as re-thinking what employment services need to look like.

We have produced a guide for local authorities on what they should be looking out for and their planning over the next six to twelve months and produced a note of our last discussions which you can access here.


We are here to help and facilitate conversations and sharing ideas. 

If you want to join in contact

The next session is on the 6th May 2020 at 11.00 and every other Wednesday at the same time.

Look forward to meeting you!


Caroline is an Associate Director at Rocket Science based in our London office.  You can check out her profile here.
What is the new normal for labour markets?

What is the new normal for labour markets?

In the employability world we like to be temperate in our language, but Covid-19 makes a mockery of this.  The impact on employment will be huge and long-lasting and many lives will be blighted and scarred – some of them forever. So the impact of Covid-19 will dominate the work we do for the foreseeable future. The DWP has done a remarkable job in managing the demand for UC registration, but as we emerge from the emergency planning phase, what lies in store?

What it is possible and appropriate to do locally will depend on the national response, and there are big national differences here.  In Scotland Fair Start Scotland is a major source of support in every area and the Scottish Government is using it to explore how to create more locally appropriate and collaborative approaches, drawing on the skills, expertise and capacity of a range of local partners – in effect it has become a local programme.  In England the Work and Health Programme has become peripheral – important to its clients but marginal in terms of money, and lacking any ability to influence more collaborative local approaches – so local partners have needed to step into this breach.  

If there is to be a scaled up national approach it is vital that it is sensitive to local differences and finds a way to build on and support local assets and collaborative approaches.  If this isn’t done there is a real risk that carefully nurtured local approaches, resources and capacity could be damaged. This will help neither clients nor the Government.

Ironically, we entered this extraordinary period with perhaps the healthiest ratio between local service capacity and need that we have had for a long time – resources have been shrinking but at a slower pace than unemployment.  Now it is all change, and it will be important for local partnerships to find ways to make the best use of the capacity of the whole structure of local employability support in an organised way.

It is possible to envisage a number of stages as the situation unfolds:

  • In the short term there will be a need to provide a transformed scale of support locally with a focus on resilience, mental health, and tackling money management and debt issues. Responding to a massive increase in demand will require services which can respond to the very different profile of this demand – in other words there will be a need for substantial and rapid triage and referral to the full range of existing support in an agreed and organised way.
  • There are jobs available in the short term – through turnover and the specific demands in logistics/delivery, health and social care and large scale retail and many will find these appealing as at least a stop gap (with health and social care in particular offering a range of longer term careers).
  • We need to identify those more vulnerable to long term unemployment, with a particular focus on young people emerging from school and college. The DWP’s own research has identified a range of indicators which help to pinpoint those at greater risk of long-term unemployment – while this it is not perfect, it is good enough for times like these.
  • In putting in place a short term response it will be important not to dilute the value of services which are currently targeted on those further from work, those with disabilities and health conditions. These will remain priority clients and they are likely to find it even harder to find or stay in work. We don’t want to overwhelm these services with those who are newly redundant.
  • We are facing a much looser labour market for a long period, so it will be important to help people maintain work-like routines and engagement, and use the time to enhance their skillsor to retrain into areas that are likely to emerge strongly from the recession.
  • Employers will be able to take the pick of the bunch, and if the last recession provides a model many skilled and experienced people will take jobs well below the level they would normally work at, so squeezing out more appropriate recruits – and exacerbating the availability of jobs for less qualified people. Local approaches can help 


employers to take on a more balanced workforce which will include those who will find it harder to find work and are at risk of very long-term unemployment. This will bring significant benefits in terms of loyalty and sustainable workforces.

  • In the medium term, in each area we will need to reconfigure the whole infrastructure of support, so that it can respond to the different needs of specific client groups and make effective connections with different employment sectors as they recover at different speeds.
  • The depth of the recession and the scale of business failure may create opportunities for significant business start-up – perhaps associated with rapid growth. Our work with the FSB has revealed the extent to which small businesses tend to under-recruit, so there is real scope to ensure that they don’t and that they feel comfortable to grow through recruitment, mainly by putting skilled HR specialists alongside the business development process.

Out of this assessment emerge five touchstones for success:

  • The futures of those who are unemployed are intertwined with the futures of employers as they emerge from the recession. There is a need to align business growth support and employability support to ensure that growing businesses are not under-recruiting, and that people have the right skills at the right time
  • It is important to take a whole system approach in each area – what is our joint capacity, who has the specialist skills for particular groups and needs, how can we collaborate on a system wide triage and referral approach to reduce the load on JCP and make the best use of the capacity we have?
  • Related to this, national investment needs to support strongly collaborative local approaches – aligned to local issues and employment profiles. The way that national investment is played out can ensure that it builds on this and creates a local infrastructure that will stand us in good stead for many years – or severely damage it by overwhelming it with a large national programme.
  • There is a need to ensure that services are carefully disaggregated in terms of their provision of specialist help – for young people, for people with disabilities, for those most at risk of long term unemployment, and for those with health conditions – and it will be important to ensure that eligibility for these is not relaxed.
  • These approaches will need to be underpinned by much more accurate and sensitive local labour market intelligence. This needs to draw on the army of those engaged with employers to understand current and emerging needs, and the wide range of insights emerging about the most affected sectors and business types and how they may emerge during the recovery phase, and ensure that this information is transformed into useful intelligence for local training providers and employability organisations.

There is no reason why we can’t do this. There is a huge reservoir of knowledge, insight and skills around employability across the UK. A carefully phased, disaggregated approach, built on high quality intelligence and integrated business development and employability approaches – locally designed and implemented – will help to accelerate the route out of recession. The impact of Covid-19 may not lend itself to temperate language, but we can put in place a carefully planned and balanced response that can create a world class infrastructure for the future. 

Richard is a Founder and Director at Rocket Science based in our Edinburgh office.  You can check out his profile here.

Youth in the time of COVID-19: How is the pandemic impacting under 25s?

Youth in the time of COVID-19: How is the pandemic impacting under 25s?

Rocket Science’s training and support for young peer researchers has been an effective method for exploring this cohort’s needs. As the current pandemic causes fundamental shifts in day-to-day life across society, Dina Papamichael examines the current and potential impacts of COVID-19 for those under 25.

Rocket Science’s engagement with young people has shown the unique pressures they face relating to career success, mental health and social media. COVID-19 has disrupted day-to-day life for young people who must now access education and training online; are confronted with insecurity in future employment; and face an indefinite period indoors without their usual connections or routines.

Young people face uncertainty about their education and career prospects

Rocket Science’s pre-COVID-19 research with over 200 young people in one London borough showed that ‘doing well in school or exams’ and ‘getting a job or having a successful career’ were the most frequent areas of worry for 16-25 year olds. The current pandemic is likely to have increased these worries as education provision is shut down (or moved online), workplaces are closed, and recruitment is frozen across sectors. Beyond these immediate impacts, young people face uncertain futures while headlines warn of global recession resulting from COVID-19. Seven in ten 18 to 24 year olds now worry that the coronavirus will harm the job market and cause higher unemployment for a long time [1].

An April 2020 IFS study has highlighted that the current lockdown will hit young workers the hardest:  Employees aged under 25 are about two and a half times more likely to work in a sector that has now shut down (such as non-food retail or hotels) when compared to other employees, with young people who are not living with parents left particularly vulnerable through lost employment. Some at school or college are concerned that their hard work will go to waste as they are not able to sit exams, while others may experience relief from being able to avoid a stressful exam period [2]. There will be disruptions to graduate employment with many employers now reporting that they will be recruiting fewer entry-level employees as a result of COVID-19 [3].

Social distancing has disrupted regular social engagement and routines

Young people are being asked to stay at home for the foreseeable future, and while 83% of over 65s feel positive about their living situation at this time, only 56% of 18-24 year olds feel this way [4]. In an open letter to the Government, several youth organisations have outlined concern that despite the best efforts of youth organisations, young people at present do not have access to the range of sports, arts and social activities that they would usually have through youth services [5]. While many young people are staying connected through social media and video calling apps, not all youth have digital access, and this can leave the most vulnerable further isolated [6].

Rocket Science’s recent youth consultation demonstrated that 16-25 year olds do not generally see social media as having a negative impact on their lives. They described growing up with social media and feelings of knowing how to safely navigate online spaces. Despite this, over half of young people stated that they would want to spend less time on social mediaWhile social distancing measures are enforced, young people face unlimited screen time as their phones become their primary method of staying connected. In this context, young people are being advised to limit time spent checking the news and ensure that they are following positive online content to prevent low mood [7].

Existing mental health needs will likely be exacerbated in the current climate, but support is available

Mental health issues amongst young people are prevalent: one in 10 primary school children, one in seven 11-16 year olds, and one in six 17 to 19 year olds experience mental health difficulties in the UK [8]. Many young people with existing mental health issues including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, a panic disorder or eating disorder are likely to find the current pandemic particularly challenging. While access to face-to-face mental health support is limited, a range of online chat or text support services are available including The Mix, Shout and Beat Eating Disorders.

Young people are well equipped to navigate online spaces; however, it will be essential that services extend their offer to those who have previously relied on in-person support. Boosted funding to online support services will be important in light of increasing demand – for example, Beat Eating Disorders has reported a 30% increase in use of their services during the current crisis. Charities and funders have been quick to collaborate and respond to the crisis – for example, UK Youth have released a range of resources, #iwill are inviting organisations to share information about their responses to the pandemic and the London Community Response Fund has been made available to support organisations responding to the needs of communities affected by the current crisis.

How can youth organisations successfully adapt during the current pandemic?

Youth organisations can adopt a range of approaches to best meet the needs of under 25s during and after COVID-19 including:

  • Moving face-to-face services online utilising the apps and software that young people are comfortable accessing, ensuring appropriate safeguarding arrangements are in place
  • Promoting and facilitating peer support (particularly in light of increased demand for services and limits to youth worker staff capacity)
  • Collating and sharing updated resources as they become available (for example, government guidelines or advice on wellbeing)
  • Engaging directly with and empowering young people to co-design adapted youth services and content
  • Providing additional support in translating policies that will impact young people into language that is easy to understand, for example benefit changes and legislation relating to housing
  • Encouraging the use of this time for skills development, for example promoting online learning opportunities and providing templates for young people to plan their next career steps
  • Gathering feedback and recording learning points throughout this period to support post-COVID-19 service improvements, for example around the types of online content most frequently sought by young people and the extent to which face-to-face services can be effectively provided online.

Dina is a Senior Consultant at Rocket Science. For more info about our research with young people, please get in touch at

Sources (linked):


Shifting to “employerability”

Shifting to “employerability”

Clara Mascaro and Hamish Linehan discuss good work, health and “employerability”

Our work commonly sits within the intersections of different areas including health, employability, housing, and poverty. Considering issues at the point that they intersect with others can often shed light into ways to approach some of the more intractable challenges in policy and service provision. In the spirit of intersection, we have teamed up with Clara Mascaro, a former Rocket Scientist and current PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, to explore how considering employment and health alongside each other makes it clear that the quality of the job is paramount. We have also drawn on the work done by Inclusion Scotland, Scotland’s main Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO), who coined the concept of ‘employerability’ during a Disabled People’s Annual Summit in 2018.

For me, this interest stems from our work with those who are unemployed and the services that offer support to them. People I’ve talked to have often commented on how their unemployment has contributed to their poor health, reduced life satisfaction and feelings of social exclusion. Their experiences are supported by an increasing body of literature that demonstrates how being in good employment can improve individual health and wellbeing and a growing understanding of ill health’s hidden economic cost.

In 2019, the UK government reported that 131 million working days were lost to sickness absences, and it was estimated that sickness and worklessness costs the UK economy approximately £100 billion annually. These findings are pertinent given that nearly a third (31%) of all working age people in the UK report a long-term health condition.

In addition, there is currently a significant gap between employment rates for those with disabilities (51.7%) and those without (81.7%).

As people live and work for longer, the number of those with a long-term health condition or disability both in and out of work is likely to increase. 

Helping people with long-term conditions and disabilities stay in work for longer or find employment can have a significant positive impact on both individuals and the wider economy. So far, the challenge seems simple: “there are a number of people who aren’t in work who would benefit from employment, so let’s get them into jobs!”.

However, we see the challenge as more nuanced than this. Evidence has shown that “bad work”  (low-paid, insecure, with low autonomy over tasks, resulting in low satisfaction) can actually have negative effects on a person’s health. This stands in contrast to the positive effects that good work (work that is well paid, secure, autonomous, with a good work life balance and opportunities to directly participate in organisational decisions) can have.

So, moving those with health conditions and disabilities into any job won’t guarantee individual and economic benefits – it may even exacerbate the problem. With this in mind we can reframe the challenge from: “How do we help those who are disabled or have long term health conditions stay in or find employment?” to “what can we do to make sure that the work that’s on offer is good quality?”.

When thought of in this way, we can see that both employers and employability services have a part to play in ensuring this challenge is met.

What can employers do?

The social model of disability states that people are disabled not by their impairments or health conditions, but by structural, environmental and attitudinal barriers in society. Adopting this perspective with regards to work and health puts more of an onus on employers to make workspaces more inclusive. Examples include making reasonable adjustments, job carving (tailoring jobs to make them suitable to specific workers), promoting flexible working practices and implementing accessible recruitment processes. However, employers – particularly smaller employers – often lack the knowledge or capacity to make these changes and need help to improve their ‘employerability’.

 A number of projects we work with are aiming to change this. We are currently working with the Department for Work and Pensions on their Challenge Fund– a multi-million pound fund that is looking at different approaches to keeping people in employment with MSK and mental health conditions through 19 test to learn initiatives. A number of these initiatives focus on the views, sense of responsibility, knowledge, skills and confidence of employers to increase their employerability. Traditionally, employers have been only passively involved in employability support programmes as the recipients of job seekers. These projects illustrate a welcome shift in the expectations placed on employers.

What can Employability Services do?

For employability services, adopting this perspective implies that it is crucial that services support jobseekers with a disability and/or health need to find a ‘good’ job that matches their skills and meets their health needs in a sustainable way. This requires flexible, personalised employability services and a shift away from what is referred to as a  “Work First” approach – ie aiming to place people into any employment as quickly as possible.

We have recently worked with a number of services who are doing just this – offering individualised support that is intended to move people with long-term health conditions into good work.  Through working with these services, we have been able to identify a number of key lessons that have contributed to their success. These include:

Service users’ needs and ambitions need to guide support. Good work will look different for everyone. In order to ensure that service users are moving towards what they feel is good work services need to align employment outcomes with their ambitions, skills, and health requirements. We have seen this be particularly effective when service staff work in collaboration with participants to identify and source a variety of different training and employment opportunities.

Health often intersects with other issues. We have found longstanding health problems can be both a cause and consequence of issues in other areas. Specifically, we have found that poor physical health and mental health can often intersect with issues such as insecure housing, poverty, and social isolation. Services can help respond to these intersecting issues by having well-trained specialist staff and strong referral links with relevant organisations.

Moving someone into employment is a first step. Often, moving someone into work is just the first step. When in work individuals may need to continually manage their health and, as discussed previously, workplaces made need to make active adjustments to accommodate individual need. Services need to provide users and employers with the skills and knowledge to manage their health conditions and adapt their work environment. In some instances, this will require that services provide ongoing support to help service users transition into work.

Managing expectations

While there are many steps that employers and employability services can take to ensure that good work is provided for those with disabilities and long-term conditions, it is also important to note that providing good work will not guarantee economic and individual benefits in all cases. There are, for instance, some health conditions and disabilities that will mean employment is not a feasible option for some people, a reality which employability services must navigate carefully.

Clara is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh researching work-disability and social security in Germany and the UK, find out more about her work here: Hamish is a consultant based in our Edinburgh office. For more information about anything discussed in this blog, please get in touch on 0131 226 4949.