Mapping and explaining every single route into work for disadvantaged people can get complicated.

Most programmes, schemes and courses are accessed via Jobcentre Plus offices. This is because the DWP is a major source of programme funding, as are the Skills Funding Agency, the YPLA, Local Authorities and the Health Trusts. As well as handling government funding, these organisations are skilled in the area of co-financing and are sometimes successful in drawing down funding from outside the UK, the most notable example being the European Social Fund.

Once the money is available the large funding bodies invite organisations to tender for it. Years ago, almost any service provider, including small vountary sector organisations, could put forward project proposals to funders such as Jobcentre Plus, and were often successful in winning tenders and delivering welfare-to-work programmes. These days, however, we work in a world of prime providers with successful bidders (often huge national or international private companies) sub-contracting service provision to smaller local organisations.

That isn't to say that small organisations cannot directly apply for funding to run programmes, but they have to know where to go. They will almost certainly find a closed door at the DWP, but they may well be successful if they approach their Local Authority or Health Trust.

So that's enough context; let's get down to practicalities.

When considering programmes and courses that might support disadantaged people to find paid employment, our advice is always to start by investigating what's on offer at Jobcentre Plus.

If a jobseeker wishes to access what's available at Jobcentre Plus they must be on either Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Alternatively, they could be on Income Support (IS) although this will be phased out by 2014.

The main support programme at Jobcentre Plus that jobseekers use is the Work Programme.

One of the most important things you can do is to encourage the jobseekers you support to register with Jobcentre Plus. Click the Jobcentre Plus button on this page and we explain how jobseekers can do this, with or without you giving them telephone support.

Once this first step is taken the process is in motion, jobseekers are called in for an initial interview, and are put on the appropriate benefit. Jobcentre Plus will decide whether they will be seen by a Disability Employment Adviser or a mainstream adviser.

If you don't work for Jobcentre Plus, it can be a little daunting trying to understand which courses are open to different jobseekers according to their "status". Our advice is not to get too tangled up comparing those who are on JSA with those who are on ESA, or those have been unemployed for a month with those who have been unemployed for six months.

This is because whilst many JCP programmes have eligibility guidelines, JCP staff (and Disability Employment Advisers in particular) have the flexibility to fast track jobseekers to the programme best suited to them if they have additional needs brought about by disability, poor health, or social disadvantage.

The SEEN firmly believes that for some disadvantaged people, for example those with moderate learning disabilities or those with enduring mental health issues, the best way forward for them is to attend a specialist course as they move, however slowly, towards employment. But, to counter-balance this, we also believe that for many others a realistic way forward is to attend what could be called mainstream courses, as long as the service provider is making reasonable adjustments to take on board their disabilities or health conditions.

The paragraph above not only sums up our approach in supporting disadvantaged people into work, but underpins the way we lay out information in this website.

We think it will only take you a few minutes to get to grips with the navigation of the site. However, like we said at the beginning, it's a complicated area: the sector is going through many changes at the moment, locally, regionally, and nationally, and with the best will in the world there is no one perfect way to map out the information.

Looking at the buttons on this page, the logical start point is to click the one that says Programmes. Here we explain the various courses and schemes available via Jobcentre Plus and other organisations, for example the Local Authority. We often list the provider or providers that run the courses and programmes and to find out contact details for these organisations click the Support orgs, Colleges or Local Authority buttons.

Organisations that give support to people to find work, or offer courses that move people towards work are listed in the Support orgs page. Within this section we might also provide details of organisations that might be useful to you even if they might not give employment support directly.

If you are looking for training courses for you as an employment support professional, you are in the wrong part of the website. Go to REGIONAL info and then Training.