Breaking Employability Barriers with Technology

February 17, 2023

According to our research, 81% of employment advisers felt there was too little time to engage with and understand their participants. Earlybird is always keen to develop a deeper understanding of the prevailing issues in the employability sector, and will continue to engage in conversations that identify them.

Where the Problem Lies

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it," (Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird). 

I recently had the pleasure of hosting an IEP LiveLearnLunch webinar and got to spend time with an engaging mix of professionals who work within the employability sector. The objective of the event was to share insights from the research we conducted last year with employability providers in the UK, but what I loved most were the rich conversations that developed throughout the hour. I continue to be impressed by the collaborative culture of the sector as it looks for the best ways of supporting people with barriers into work. We also addressed understandable uncertainty about the growing integration of technology within the employability sector.

Here are my key takeaways from the webinar:

Building trust with the participants is absolutely essential and this was without challenge. 

Some of the research indicated that 25% of an advisers' time is spent on administrative tasks however the unanimous response on the webinar was this was an underestimate and in reality it is 30-40% or even more. 

High caseload volumes are an ongoing challenge for employment advisers. The impact of this is a brevity of time to build meaningful trust, which delivers an understanding of the intricacies of the participant's barriers.

Let's focus on the onboarding process; this is the foundation of the relationship and where those important nuggets of information must be gathered. How do we optimise this part of the journey?

Experience of technology has been indifferent at best and negative at worst. This creates a barrier to new tools which can help. 

Technology is not always designed to include individuals with disabilities, particularly those who are neurodiverse. 

Advisers do not need to be apprehensive of technology -  it should be evolution not revolution. Technology must enable and optimise the human interaction rather than replace it.

A Solution at Hand

We recognise that building trust and delivering outcomes can only be done by identifying and understanding the barriers of the participant you are supporting. A very manual onboarding process means that advisers simply do not have enough time to do this properly and it is easy for crucial information to be missed during onboarding. This ends up affecting the support that can be provided - an adviser can only help a participant with the challenges that they are aware of. In turn, this impacts the end of the journey when work is not accessed or accessed but not sustained. 

Earlybird’s voice-based SaaS onboarding tool could potentially close the gap between participants and employability providers. Combining automation and human interaction can optimise the onboarding.  

How does it work?

Earlybird allows participants to be onboarded via WhatsApp on their smartphones using voice responses; the software extracts the key insights and a summarised report is made available which can be easily imported into a CRM. 

We want advisers to be able to understand their participants’ unique challenges from day one. If we can identify the barriers from the start, a foundation of trust can be built quickly, the quality of the support provided can be improved and the number of successful learning, jobs and other outcomes will increase. What’s more, this approach improves organisational performance by spending less time and money per participant.

The CBI has predicted that 40% more people will be unemployed by the end of the year. This means that caseloads will be even higher. It is even more important that time is optimised so that advisers can understand participants’ challenges. 

Earlybird is in tune with the needs of the employability sector and is on a mission to provide tools which will help to deliver better outcomes.

If you would like to chat with me about Earlybird, please contact me at or get in touch with us via the contact form.

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