The Development Employability Equality Partnership aimed to explore real and perceived barriers to employment through a participatory action research project. The focus was on learning more about people who face barriers to employment as a result of exclusion factors.
The main objective of the DEEP Change Agent programme was to demonstrate through research how the employability of people from marginalised groups can be improved. The research that the volunteers produced would be used to challenge politicians in Europe, Westminster and Cardiff to bring about changes in policy and legislation to tackle discrimination in the workplace. The volunteers themselves were to have the opportunity to address their concerns directly to members of the three governments. The specific research areas were chosen by the action researchers or ‘Change Agents’ according to areas of personal interest. Four basic themes within the participatory action research framework underpinned this work:
Target Beneficiary groups
- Empowerment of participants
- Collaboration through participation
- Acquisition of knowledge
- Social change
The action researchers were volunteers who had faced these difficulties themselves. The partnership was composed of voluntary sector organisations, supported by government agencies and universities and led by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).
- To combat discrimination and promote equality through employability
- To facilitate access to the labour market for excluded groups of people
- Tosupport the empowerment of excluded groups
- To influence policy in Wales, UK & Europe affecting employability
This DP learned much about about empowerment and its processes. There is a real need now to gather together the skills and experiences of all empowerment led processes across a number of initiatives: empowerment led EQUAL DPs, tenant participation process, community forums, re-generation initiatives etc. This body of knowledge needs to inform a comprehensive and realistic Guide to any Government body or organisation who uses or hopes to use active participation and empowerment within a decision making framework.