Joy Williams


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Principal Research Fellow

+44(0)1273 763 443

Joy Williams (nee Oakley) joined IES in 2008. She is competent in a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches including survey and management information analysis; qualitative interviews; group interviews and literature reviews. Since joining IES, a core part of Joy's work has been looking at how the employment and skills systems work together. She has conducted a series of studies for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) looking at the integration of employment and skills – focusing on the relationship between Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service. Joy is also interested in the development of skills of young people and students and equality and diversity. She has extensive experience of interviewing young people; from those who are not engaged in employment or training and their Connexions Advisers, as part of the evaluation of the Activity and Learning Agreement Pilot; to young volunteers and apprentices. She has developed a portfolio of work around diversity in apprenticeships; from research for BIS to shape pilots addressing under-representation in apprenticeships and the subsequent evaluation of the resulting pilots, to a project for unionlearn that Joy managed looking at gender and race diversity in apprenticeships.

Joy also has experience of quantitative analysis of secondary data including Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data analysis which was used when looking at how learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are supported to access European Social Fund Priority 2 and 5 provision, and DHLE, YCS and LSYPE for a study to understand potential applicants' perceptions of and intentions towards HE and large-scale surveys of creative graduates. She has developed an understanding of Further and Higher Education from the perspective of students and graduates and the staff/institutional standpoint.

Joy is also interested in the skills of people in work and has taken part in recent research looking at employers' investment in skills through employer networks, occupational regulation, Investors in People and employer ownership of skills pilots. Joy has interviewed a range of staff, management and stakeholders; at Sector Skills Councils, colleges and Board members, about how skills and training gaps are identified and how provision is designed to fill this gap.

Prior to joining IES, Joy worked within Welfare to Work as a Careers Adviser, providing Information, Advice and Guidance to people with health problems and disabilities, supporting them to access training and return to the labour market. During this time she gained an NVQ 4 in Information, Advice and Guidance. She also worked for Jobcentre Plus where she interviewed a variety of benefit claimants.


2008 City and Guilds NVQ 4, Advice and Guidance
2000 University of Manchester BSocSc, Sociology


2006‑2008 Personal Development Coach, Kennedy Scott
2004‑2006 Adviser Manager, Stepping Stones Into Work (Jobcentre Plus)
2002‑2004 Personal Adviser, Jobcentre Plus

Research publications

Articles and chapters

Conference appearances

Advisory roles and affiliations

  • Fellow, NIHR School for Social Care Research, London School of Economics (2012 - present)