Employability and Welfare
› We believe that social enterprises and government must focus on creating real support and financial incentives that address employability, inclusion and social enterprise development at the same time.
Employment and welfare reform in Scotland and the UK are major issues, particularly when it comes to the challenge of youth employment.
Social enterprises are well placed to deliver employment related public services, due to their relative independence from the state, focus on need over profit and the way in which the sector can effectively and actively engage with the most disadvantaged groups. They have a track record of developing a wide range of successful welfare to work projects, and help unemployed and economically inactive people to gain the skills, experience and self-belief that they need.
Government must work with social enterprise and social firms (distinct social enterprises which create employment for people furthest removed from the labour market) to create genuine incentives to work. Employers must be incentivised to train and employ individuals lacking confidence and skills, and offer decent jobs that offer a real reason to move into employment.
Many social enterprises, including social firms, seek to employ people with learning disabilities or who are long term unemployed, yet they find individuals are often deterred from working in order to comply with the benefits system. Changes to this system could make work worthwhile again, but must not result in increasing poverty.
Increasing workplace skills and confidence is a necessary first step to support individuals taking their first steps back into employment, however there needs to be jobs to access at the end of this process. By supporting proposals that allow local organisations to pay people to undertake work that improves the community, without it affecting their benefits, government could provide the incentives, flexibilty and opportunity for individuals looking to re-enter the labour market.
McSence, social enterprise in Dalkeith, Midlothian