The Working for Water Programme's willingness to take on the inter-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, and partnerships co-ordination role in its invasive alien plant clearing activities has moulded it into a leading example of possible ways to successfully run a public works programme. The social development objectives within the programme present some of the most profound challenges for this multi-focus initiative. Although essentially the programme addresses the problem of invasive alien vegetation, it has grown to take on the challenge of high unemployment levels and general socio-economic uplift in communities where it operates. This means that it has to address not just the training component of its workers, contractors and management, but also the workers' health, employment conditions, and general social well being. These additional challenges have resulted in the formation of partnerships with government departments responsible for these sectors (such as Health and Welfare, Agriculture, Land Affairs and others), and with other organisations at the local level. This paper discusses research findings from a study on the socio-economic impacts of the programme on the lives of workers. It also provides an analysis of the different views of the type of employment (short vs. long term) preferred by workers and contractors.