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A Festive Update

In the run up to the festive season, I’m pleased to report that we remain very much on track with delivery of the Strategy we launched earlier this year. There have been a number of successes which demonstrate this. We have continued to support the work of the Army Recovery Capability, having just hosted a further assessment and training course. Our training team has delivered a number of LifeWorks courses and we are proud to report that delegates from these courses are now moving into employment and further vocational training.

Our training team has delivered a number of LifeWorks courses and we are proud to report that delegates from these courses are now moving into employment and further vocational training.

Social Enterprise has recently secured a contract to provide services to the MOD as well as adding a number of new customers for signs, mail house, printing and fulfilment services to its portfolio. The number of customers supported into work through Work Programme continues to grow and we have successfully implemented two Access to Work contracts for the delivery of workplace assessments across the South of England, London and the Home Counties.

Our Property Services team have been invited to tender to provide grounds maintenance work around Kent and a new and exciting project which will provide employment for ex Service, ex offenders that we will deliver in partnership with Blue Sky will now go live in Spring 2012. The Welfare and Healthcare Team continue to support an increasing number of beneficiaries with high quality care, accommodation, advice and guidance.

The latest K’nex ‘Big Build’ project, which has generated much interest and intrigue over the last few weeks will be unveiled early in the New Year when it finally reaches its destination in Houston, Texas. We look forward to providing more detail on this project in January, including information and video footage relating to the build process.

We look forward to providing more detail on this project in January, including information and video footage relating to the build process.

I’d like to wish all our customers, partners and friends a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support; I look forward to working with all of you to continue our Strategy delivery in 2012.

Christmas Baubles Image by Petr Kratochvil

Making the Work Programme Work in Crawley

Henry Smith MP Crawley

The local Conservative MP, Henry Smith, organised and chaired a meeting of organisations committed to making the Work Programme work.  The meeting was held in the RBLI/G4S Work Programme office in Crawley and included representatives from G4S, RBLI, Crawley Councillors, the Principal of Central Sussex College, Richmond Fellowship and Job Centre Plus, amongst others.
Sean Williams G4S

Sean Williams, Managing Director of G4S Work Programme, stated that Work Programme is the most ambitious plan to tackle worklessness that has ever been seen.  He went on to explain that it was aimed at not just finding employment, but sustaining people in employment.  Martin Derby, a RBLI consultant working in the Crawley office, related two powerful testimonies from his clients which demonstrated the breadth of support that we provide to our customers.

Lenny Walker Crawley Council
Lenny Walker, a Crawley Councillor, said that the Work Programme has a real need for partnerships and that our commitment to organising these events to bring people together was crucial to the development of those partnerships.
Overall the day was a great success and was well received by everyone that attended.

Office Visits

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting our Work Programme Offices in Crawley, Chichester and Brighton.  RBLI, working in partnership with G4S, now has over 800 clients referred to us in the first 4 weeks of the programme. 
I joined in our of the induction courses for 8 new clients in one office where I was impressed by the enthusiasm and motivation of staff and customers alike.  The induction sessions include an in depth one to one between the client and their consultant and this session sets the scene for designing a bespoke package of support for each individual.  One client said “It is nice to be treated like an adult”.
The offices are equipped with job search computers for clients to use at anytime and a full programme of courses to help individuals prepare themselves for employment is on offer.

Medway Office Opening

Now that the Work Programme is upon us, we are getting on with the job at hand – helping people find new jobs and build new futures.  In Chatham I was delighted to welcome our local MP, Tracey Crouch, to perform the opening ceremony of our new Medway office located in the Pentagon Shopping Centre.  Tracey met with our customers and staff and said how impressed she was with the work we do and our professional yet caring approach.
A big thank you to Tracey for taking the time and to everyone involved in the delivery of the Work Programme.

Work Programme

Well the Eagle has finally landed and Work Programme is now upon us.  After months of hard work for everyone we are now helping our first customers.  This new programme concentrates on achieving sustainable employment and we have a range of new initiatives to help individuals.  At a time when unemployment remains high, it is going to be a big test for all providers but I am very confident that we have an outstanding team who are more than a match and will rise to the challenge.

Work Programme

Following the recent ministerial announcement regarding Organisations that have been selected as preferred bidders for Work Programme, we were delighted that RBLI is a partner for both of those who were successful in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. We look forward to working with them to deliver innovative and successful solutions for Work Programme customers.

The Work Programme is the Government’s flagship employment programme which combines most of the current programmes into one. Its aim will be to deliver innovation, customised support and sustainable jobs, all of which are at the heart of RBLI activities. The current economic climate will undoubtedly create some challenges for those delivering this new programme. However we believe our Social Enterprise model, condition management programme, motivational workshops, employability training courses and in work support services will ensure RBLI is well placed to overcome these.

In addition we continue to progress a range of initiatives which will enable us to increase the number of beneficiaries we support. Many of these can also be integrated into Work Programme to provide enhanced support to specific customer groups. Plans to set up the Learning Café at our head office site continue to progress. We are also excited about our involvement with the charity Blue Sky, as we work together to develop employment and training opportunities for ex Service personnel who also have a history of offending. Blue Sky run a number of projects which offer employment to ex offenders and amongst the group of individuals with whom they work have reduced re-offending to one quarter of the national average.

From Strength to Strength in Employment Solutions

We go from strength to strength in Employment Solutions where, as the end of the year fast approaches, it is perhaps time for some reflection and also to peer into the future. This year has seen a number of resounding successes by RBLI. Our Welfare team was awarded an ‘A’ grading by Kent County Council for its exceptional performance in delivering the Supporting People Programme and our wonderful staff in the Workstep team continued to deliver above target both on job outcomes and sustainments. The team also executed a professional and comprehensive handover to the new Workchoice providers. Although sad to see some of our people transfer over on TUPE to the new providers; this is very much the way of life in the Welfare to Work industry. However, we remain in touch through our successful RBLI alumni programme.

We have also said farewell to a few of the management and support staff due to the cessation of Workstep in the South East. However, we have welcomed new staff with a new Project Manager for our exciting training delivery programme with the Army Recovery Capability; two new advisers on our Business to Business team and have reinforced our Work Programme team to ensure we provide our normal first rate quality of service to the Prime Contractors on the Work Programme framework agreement. Our Access to Work Assessment team is growing in size to match the success and growth in this area. We are currently helping over 500 clients on the Pathways Programme. Also, early in 2011 we have plans to launch a vocational assessment service (called Lifeworks) which will have national coverage for the Armed Forces Community. Busy days ahead I think.

Our Manufacturing Division, with over 104 disabled employees, also goes from strength to strength and is now formally accredited as a Social Enterprise and will be re-titled early in the New Year. Our ‘Fulfilment’ team achieved a world record for the construction of the tallest model railway at St Pancras Station and the order books are filling up as a result.

Our strong links with Kent County Council are also developing further with our mutual ambition to ‘do more’ together to assist disabled people back into employment and reach out to those from the Armed Forces Community. This will reinforce our ability to deliver sustainable outcomes in the new Work Programme.