London Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme evaluation
Against a backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and concerns around subsequent high levels of unemployment, the Government decided to expand the Work and Health Programme (WHP) to provide additional voluntary support for those on benefits who had been unemployed for more than three months. This became the Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme. The JETS programme was designed to provide six months of light-touch personalised employability support to help people return to employment. It launched in October 2020, initially with recruitment until September 2021, which was then extended to September 2022.
In 2022, SQW was commissioned by London Councils to undertake an evaluation of the London JETS programme to understand what was working well and less well with programme delivery and what lead to higher outcomes for programme beneficiaries. It involved analysis of monitoring data and consultations with sub-regional leads, provider staff, job centre staff, external partners and participants.
The evaluation found that the programme had been set up at pace during the Covid-19 pandemic and was able to build on the existing WHP infrastructure. Strong relationships with the jobcentres helped the programme to receive the expected number of referrals. The referral to start conversion rate improved over time and providers found that increasing the intensity of the initial contact led to a higher conversion rate.
Provider staff thought that the programme added value by being able to dedicate more time to working with participants than was offered routinely by JCP staff. In this time they could support job search, which was important for many participants who had not looked for work for some time or were looking to change sector/occupation. In all four sub-regions, performance on job outcomes was a long way ahead of the DWP-set outcomes target, with performance often between 150-200% of this target. Being so far ahead of target was viewed as a real achievement which reflected the speed and quality of the response by commissioners and providers, as well as much more favourable labour market conditions.
The evaluation report is available here.