5: Step Up – supporting low-paid workers to progress their careers

Building on collaboration between the Learning and Work Institute, Trust for London and the Walcot Foundation, the Step Up initiative was launched in 2015 to help low-paid workers progress in their careers and move into
better work.

Key features in the delivery of the programme involved a personalised approach, one-to-one support, and coaching to boost participants’ motivation and confidence. The initiative also involved partnerships with training providers and organisations connected to employers. Businesses were crucial for the initiative and were engaged in a number of ways. For instance, they provided job opportunities and a source of training and mentoring. To recruit businesses, the initiative made use of existing contacts with the business community such as through networking events and employer-led employability workshops. Subsequently, the initiative provided a tailored business solution by offering a high-quality recruitment service with screened and prepared candidates.

The project was evaluated after two years. It showed that there were clear benefits to career progression and wage increases, as well as a range of soft outcomes. These included greater confidence, work/life balance, technical skills and qualifications, and labour market knowledge. These skills can, in turn, generate further employment benefits in the future. Other programmes with similar features include the Skills Escalator pilots in West London.