Employability policies targeting urban job seekers have often had a ?work first? focus on quick job entries, neglecting sustainability and progression. This article reviews evidence on ?what works?, drawing generic lessons from research on locally-focused urban policy initiatives in Great Britain operationalised in the context of persistent worklessness in many cities. The findings highlight the importance of employer engagement to open up job opportunities, recognising the diverse needs of individuals, the significance of personalised support for those furthest from the labour market, and co-ordination of local provision. It is argued that providers need to ensure workless groups have the skills and support to access opportunities created by economic growth. Robust local policy analysis remains challenging but important in the context of limited budgets, payment-by-results and a fragmented policy landscape.