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supporting welfare to work providers

Personal development plans

Section image for Customer journey - man and woman following footprints on a journey

The confidential Personal Development Plan (PDP) helps you and your customer plot a detailed route for their journey back to work. It can include work experience opportunities.

Adopt a customer-centred approach (enabling the customer to make the decisions) when planning. Ensure your customer feels they ‘own’ their PDP so that it meets their needs. Use it to identify issues and ways of overcoming them and avoid any impression of ‘unnecessary form filling’ which they may feel they have done enough of anyway.

You and your customer should amend the PDP as their journey progresses and changes occur. Regular reviews are important motivators and critical when the inevitable setbacks crop up. And when they do, it is particularly important to review the positive steps your customer has made as this will boost their confidence. You may also need to help your 50+ customer recognise that set-backs may not be age-related but connected to other factors.

The PDP format will vary across providers and programmes and is likely to be supplemented by other assessment outcome materials. But there are important items of information that should be included in any PDP.

PDP content

  • Profile information of the 50+ customer
  • Areas of experience / work history / strengths
  • Expectations and aspirations
  • Barriers (perceived and actual)
  • Summary of assessment outcomes
  • Short-, medium- and long-term goals
  • Planned and completed support interventions
  • Provision of psychological or emotional support
  • Support log, monitoring and reviews
  • Practical work experience
  • Referral to specialist agencies, eg housing

You may find this example of a provider’s customer record form of interest. It includes a section on the PDP.

Facilitating work experience opportunities
Workplace ‘taster’ opportunities help people broaden customers' horizons and offer a valuable stepping stone for those seeking to return to work after a prolonged absence, for example those who have been affected by health conditions or who have had caring commitments. In particular, they offer an excellent opportunity to trial a job role and work routine. Widening access to work trials is one of the new specific 50+ support contract measures announced by the government.

DWP research into New Deal provision for people aged 50+ indicates work experience is also popular.

Work experience can help your customers to:

  • re-engage with the labour market
  • build confidence, motivation and team working experience
  • explore working practices in selected sectors
  • acquire recent experience and references
  • develop vocational skills
  • boost their CVs
  • practise interview skills.

This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.