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Partnership information


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The Engage Development Partnership aims to pilot and test a number of projects that will support disadvantaged groups to increase their skills and improve their employability.   Led by the National Learning and Skills Council, the organisation responsible for the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) in England, partners have been building on basic literacy and numeracy skills and vocational learning provision delivered in custodial settings to improve motivation, skills and links to employers, which can ultimately lead to a positive employment outcome.

The focus of the project is to pilot employer engagement strategies to support offender’s access employment.   

The ENGAGE Development Partnership has over 120 Partner Organisations and has been working through nine LSC Regions and twelve Probation Service Areas.  


To develop, trial, evaluate and mainstream innovative methods of engagement in community-based career/life planning and skills development, for non-traditional learners, with particular focus on Skills for Life and geographical areas of disadvantage, through an inclusive, client-centred approach that will inform  practice and influence policy at regional, national and European levels.


  • Develop, pilot and evaluate innovative methods of learner engagement targeting non-traditional learners from several local area planning groups and one area-wide planning group based upon career/life planning and skills development, particularly skills for life
  • Develop and pilot the 'users as developers' approach through ICT and other IAG & learning curriculum activities and tools from an individual learner and tutor perspective
  • Increase the understanding of cultural and linguistic impact upon learning, especially with reference to Skills for Life learning
  • Develop an understanding of the barriers to progression within referral systems for adult learners.
  • Develop an alliance to reduce re-offending by working with and supporting employers and employment networks encouraging employers to draw on offenders and ex offenders as a valuable supply of labour and skills.
  • In line with the development of the Framework for achievement, develop accreditation opportunities of learning and vocational skills by offenders who are completing sentences in the community.  Using NOCN progression awards (the recognised credit based qualification) enable offenders to acquire recognition for learning and skills development
  • Seek to motivate and engage offenders in high quality programmes of learning to allow them to gain qualifications in employment sectors where there is local demand.
  • Enhance the development of softer workplace skills, such as communication, team work and problem solving.

Target Groups

All communities under represented in engagement in learning including:

  • BME groups
  • disadvantaged areas
  • people with low basic skills
  • offenders
  • ex-offenders




Round 1 to Round 2

In Round 1 Birmingham and Solihull Learning and Skills Council was the lead body for the DP FORWARD and has carried some key personnel and experience through into running the Round 2 partnership.

Transnational partnerships


Gerard Finegan, Learning and Skills Council National Office,


Action 2: 31 March 2008
Action 3: 31 March 2008

Equal theme

Lifelong learning and inclusive working practices


The DP originated from organisations in Birmingham and Solihull involved in Adult Continuing Learning - the colleges, voluntary sector, NIACE, UFI, Birmingham Adult Education Service, Libraries, Local Authorities, finding pockets of non engagement and establishing a project to trial ways of tackling the issues.


BME groups, Jobseekers with low basic skills, People from disadvantaged areas (top 10% most deprived wards)
Total beneficiaries: 3250

Intended impact/ sustainability

A key impact of Engage will be to have fundamentally changed that way that partners in the DP approach Adult Learning.

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Practice X
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A key issue is to build trust within a local area, working with local people and services which engage other local people - thereby empowering community champions and the voluntary sector.

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LSC Website
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