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Research report

Smoothing the path

Ruth Hawthorn and Judy Alloway

Advice about learning and work for disadvantaged adults

These findings are based on a study carried out during the second half of 2008 of 12 agencies that provide careers advice to adults with one or more disadvantages including:
  • people with visual impairment
  • people with learning difficulties
  • refugees
  • people living with mental illness
  • homeless people
  • older adults
  • ex-offenders
  • union members who are low-skilled, low-paid, part-time or shift workers
  • people in urban areas with any of the above disadvantages plus poverty, unemployment, or being on incapacity benefit
  • people with any of the above disadvantages who have difficulty in reaching advice services, including those in rural areas.
Some agencies were chosen on the basis of their target group, others on the basis of the way they addressed the needs of
target groups.
The findings will be of interest to all working in similar or related fields. They will be of particular relevance to those planning the adult advancement and careers service (aacs) due to begin in 2010. The work described in this report embodies a number of the features of the proposed aacs:
  • it is driven by the needs of the clients
  • it often involves partnership working
  • careers advice is often couched in services that address other needs
  • it combines careers advice with activities to overcome any barriers to learning or work