In the EU member States there are over 40 legal frameworks for work integration social enterprises (WISEs). This diversity - which we organised into 3 categories - may inspire the Work Integration Programme (WIP) you are developing. While choosing the right approach for your WIP, carefully consider the purpose and values of your programme.

Intermediate labour market

The intermediate labour market is a supportive scheme assisting (long-term) unemployed disadvantaged individuals. They work to improve employability and reconnect with the labour market. Fulfilling these goals can take on different forms, depending on the individual’s characteristics:

  • Paid work
  • Unpaid work
  • Voluntary work
  • Training and guidance

For some individuals, integration into the open labour market may be too difficult in the foreseeable future. The fact that not all target group participants will be in paid work in the open labour market is not synonym with the failure of the WIP. It is necessary is to provide a range of challenging, realistic opportunities for different target group participants.

Permanent employment schemes are aimed at people with severe vulnerabilities, who are unlikely to integrate in the regular labour market.

For example, a social firm:

  • Is set up to create good quality jobs and employment for people who are severely disadvantaged in the labour market, as described by Social Firms UK.
  • Typically, at least 25% of people employed in social firms face major barriers in the labour market
  • Also typically, at least 50% of the income of social firms is generated through the trade of goods and/or services
  • Reinvests its profits to create more jobs
  • The focus of a social firm, then, is to create sustainable, permanent jobs for severely disadvantaged people in its market-led business.

Supported employment is usually:

  • paid work in the open labour market
  • Close follow-up to the participant, involving mentoring, coaching, role shadowing
  • Support to employers and work colleagues
  • This helps participants to get used to their workplace and cushions the challenges in the (re)integration process.
  • A broader understanding of supported employment includes the provision of similar services in unpaid or voluntary work.