The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot Deputy political editor has written an interesting article in this national English newspaper on 11th January 2023.
She states “Labour will “put health and wellbeing” at the heart of its employment strategy by embedding career advisers in health services, including addiction clinics, rehab centres and primary care, the party has said.” This is music to my ears given findings from our ongoing research and training of 300+ practitioners in Wales on effective Career Development and Wellbeing conversations. See also: this freely available Toolkit for practitioners
In an interview with the Guardian, Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said the strategy would help people who had been “written off” to access work.
The party would also guarantee those with long-term health conditions who moved into employment that they would not have to face a gruelling benefits reassessment if they needed to leave the workplace. Ashworth said the fear of reassessment was putting people off applying for work in the first place.
The former shadow health secretary said there was a particular drive to help young people into work who were suffering with anxiety, depression and stress. “I do think there’s an urgency around younger people,” he said.
“If young people are not in education or training, and don’t feel they can make a contribution because of mental health problems, we’re at risk of writing off a whole generation”…
The new employment services will be located within existing mental health, addiction services or charities, away from job centres, and involving specialists trained to support people with complex needs.
“This is the new frontier of employment support services, above and beyond traditional job matching, finding reskilling opportunities, helping people with a benefit system,” Ashworth said. “Now we’ve got health and wellbeing at the centre of our approach”….
Ashworth also plans to lead a review into occupational health inside workplaces – to help people at risk of leaving the workplace to stay.
The announcement comes after a speech by Ashworth at the Centre for Social Justice, where he said the party in government would “target the highest employment in the G7” by tackling the systemic challenges preventing people from working.
The proposals include:
- Devolving employment support to local authorities to target the best routes into work.
- Tailored extra support to work flexibly for those with caring responsibilities or chronic conditions.
- Offers of “in principle” decisions for access-to-work funding for disabled people.
- Change the work capability assessment regime to allow people to accept a job without fearing they would not be able to return to the benefits they were receiving.