People and Work Unit

People and Work Unit

At a glance


  • Training / employment support
  • Education

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 
National - Wales


The People and Work Unit is a small independent Welsh charity set up in 1984. We work with communities and with public and voluntary sector organisations to research, understand and tackle the causes and effects of poverty and disadvantage. Our core principle is that people are healthier, happier and empowered when they are involved in productive activity, and, where possible, in employment. However, the relationship between people and work in Wales has changed radically in the last fifty years and some people have been left behind, relying on structures that have not adapted effectively enough, so that individuals and whole groups have become more and more disadvantaged. This is where we seek to impact


We focus on education and learning as the primary tools for enabling people to adapt to new labour markets, and build the resilience to benefit from them. The People and Work Unit works with the people most affected by economic changes to capture and generate knowledge about what would make a difference to their lives, to the communities they live in and the institutions that serve them. We also work to inform policy and practice targeted at disadvantaged groups, through commissioned research and evaluations, and through partnership work.
Our work in communities is based on a tripartite model that gives equal importance to opportunities that offer access to high quality provision and new skills; support that provides effective encouragement and challenge; and a focus on harnessing and building adaptive and positive personal aptitudes and attitudes. Using this tripartite approach, the People and Work Unit has developed a range of programmes working with communities, schools, local groups and organisations, and policy makers. For example, over the last seven years we have focused on one community, exploring with that community how cultural attitudes to the importance of education could change to help build skills and qualification levels. The learning from this is now being used to develop a wider area-based approach.

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