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Research Case studies

Applying Research to Inform the Employment Learning and Skills Agendas


The Policy Research Institute (PRI) has established a reputation as a leading centre for policy-relevant research on employment and skills. The Institute works with organisations, operating in the labour market and learning and skills sector, that have a key role to play in taking the employment, learning and skills agendas forward.

Research and impact at the local and regional level

Research and evaluation associated with labour markets and skills has been undertaken for many local authorities to help inform skills strategy development and partnership development.

An example of such work is the Institute’s recent research for Kirklees Council on the Kirklees Labour Market and Skills Strategy. The research informed the development of policy and initiatives to improve the skills base of the local economy.

A range of work has been undertaken for Regional Development Agencies. For example various skills and business support related research and evaluation, and facilitated learning.

Research in a national context

For a number of years, the Institute have conducted research and evaluation of employment and skills based interventions for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This work has contributed directly to policy development and to the improvement of policy implementation.

In 2008 research was undertaken on employers’ recruitment practices, to assess the extent to which employers use ‘postcode filtering; in deprived areas. The work informed initiatives to change employer behaviour. Recent research on the effects of the economic downturn on the most deprived areas and disadvantaged groups helped to inform the development of the capacity and operation of the Welfare to Work and skills systems.

A substantial amount of work has been undertaken for Jobcentre Plus to help inform the improvement of services to job seekers. From 2003 to 2008 the Institute undertook the national Customer Satisfaction Survey, along with a further qualitative research, both of which directly informed improvement planning.

Over the past decade, a considerable amount of research has been undertaken on employment and skills issues for the Learning and Skills Council and the Sector Skills Development Agency (now the UK Commission for Employment). This has included a range of research and evaluation projects, literature reviews and facilitated learning workshops.

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