25 October 2016

RBLI looks to expand LifeWorks programme to wider community

Royal British Legion Industries has called on the Department for Work and Pensions to fund an expansion of its award-winning employment support programme LifeWorks. 

The Learning and Work Institute has recently carried out an evaluation of the LifeWorks programme which has helped almost 600 long-term unemployed military veterans over the last five years. 

Statistics show that 83% of delegates are finding some form of employment, education or training, despite 79% having a health condition or disability. What’s more, 77% of those who found work were in full-time employment. 

In order to help the government meet its aim of halving the disability employment gap, RBLI now looks to grow LifeWorks beyond ex-services personnel.

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, The Learning and Work Institute said:

“LifeWorks has made a real difference to the lives of ex-services personnel who have struggled to return to the workplace. Our evaluation shows that the programme is particularly effective at supporting veterans with health conditions. 
"The Government has a welcome commitment to halving the disability employment rate gap. RBLI and LifeWorks can play an important role in delivering that, and applying the lessons more widely to people with health problems and disabilities.”

With only 47% of disabled people in employment, as opposed to 80% of non-disabled people, halving this gap would help another 1.2 million disabled people into the workplace. The government's current Work Programme sees only 33% of its delegates finding employment.

RBLI believes that the Government’s current investment in employment schemes does not meet its ambition and is calling for £750,000 of investment from DWP to fund a pilot of the LifeWorks scheme for people in the wider community who are unemployed, particularly those with disabilities and health conditions.

Steve Sherry CMG OBE, Chief Executive, RBLI said:

“Since 1919 our mission has been to support Britain’s bravest, empowering them to return to society and find fulfilling work. There are still many Veterans out there who need our support and who we are passionate about supporting, however, I see no reason why our work should be limited to those who have served in the military.

"We are incredibly proud of LifeWorks, and even prouder of the achievements of those who have completed the course, our ambition now is to extend this service to another group of brave Britons: those living with disabilities and health conditions. 

“It is unacceptable that in today’s society, disabled people who want to work struggle to find the right opportunities. Today RBLI is asking for £750,000 from DWP to launch a wider pilot of LifeWorks, with the aim of rolling it out to support disabled people across the UK.

"To date the Government’s investment in work programmes has not matched the ambitious targets it has set itself. We want to help change that.”