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Identification and Assessment of Needs

The identification of an individual's needs, followed by an assessment of how severe those needs are, is critical to understanding the barriers faced by an individual and the types of activities required to support them towards and into employment. While the negative is stressed - i.e. an individual's needs and barriers - it is also important to identify and assess an individual's strengths and competencies as this can help give an indication of what types of occupation they may be more attuned to.


The identification and assessment of needs can be carried out through a number of ways including:

  • One-to-one interview(s) where an experienced employability worker spends time getting to know the individual and posing questions about different aspects of their lives that might be barriers to entering and sustaining employment.
  • Diagnostic tools that pose a series of questions or scenarios that can test for an individual's needs. Increasingly diagnostic tools are completed online.
  • Group observation which involves an experienced employability worker observing a group and identifying an individual's needs through how they interact with others. This can act as the starting point to a more in-depth, one-to-one assessment.

Once the assessment is made, it is important that the assessment results are discussed with the individual to see which they agree on and which they are surprised by - i.e. they had not previously identified something as a strength or weakness of theirs. This discussion can then form the basis of a personalised action plan.

If the assessment shows that the individual requires support from another organisation, the individual should be signposted and referred to the most appropriate service. This can be done by email, phone or arranging a joint meeting with the other organisation.

In identifying and assessing an individual's needs and strengths, the following types of features should be reviewed:

  • Confidence/self awareness
  • Attitude and motivation towards work
  • Core skills - communication, numeracy, IT, problem solving and working with others
  • Work-related skills
  • Previous employment and/or work experience
  • Length of unemployment
  • Qualifications
  • Career interests
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Caring and/or childcare responsibilities
  • Benefits and financial position
  • Transport
  • Criminal record
  • Eligibility for national programme funding support

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