Evaluation of the-Skills-Escalator-Pilot


Learning and Work Institute reports the findings from the evaluation of the West London Alliance Skills Escalator pilot – which aimed to support working people on low household incomes in West London to gain better-paid and more stable employment through a programme of personalized advice and skills acquisition.

The pilot was delivered in the London boroughs of Harrow and Hounslow from November 2014 to date, with funding from the Transformation Challenge Award. Subsequently, two additional years of funding were secured from the European Social Fund (ESF) to continue delivery in Harrow and Hounslow from 2017, and to extend delivery into the London boroughs of Ealing and Barnet. This report covers findings from the first two years of delivery in Hounslow and Harrow only.

The pilot was targeted at residents living in the private rented sector or in temporary accommodation in receipt of partial Housing Benefit, with the intention that by overcoming barriers to progression, and increasing earnings, residents would reduce or end their dependency on in-work benefits, releasing savings to the public purse.

The pilot service offered residents an integrated support offer to help them increase their skills, and thus enable them to achieve career development and / or career change and improve earnings.

This comprised:

  • Direct marketing to eligible individuals using Housing Benefit data;
  • One-to-one support from an adviser, structured around a personalised action plan;
  • A core offer of referral to existing skills provision, with the cost of this covered by the service;
  • Wrap-around support from other existing services; and
  • Direct employer engagement.