More than 13 local organisations have attended an event at the Quality Hotel, Stoke-on-Trent, to celebrate the work being done by the local Work Routes service, which is supporting unemployed people in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Work Routes, which is delivered by employability specialists Reed in Partnership and their local partners, was launched in November 2016 and is due to support more than 4,200 local unemployed people, with the target of 1,700 securing sustained employment by October 2019.
The free and voluntary programme, which is funded by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) using the European Social Fund, has so far helped 140 local people to start work by supporting them to become more employable with free skills training, confidence building and financial assistance for things such as interview clothes and travel.
As well as their own personal employment adviser, Work Routes participants have free access to an in-house health and wellbeing specialist who can help them to overcome barriers that are not directly related to employment, such as housing, health and benefits issues.
The event was attended by Work Routes participants who spoke about how the service has changed their lives.
Steven Byatt, 40, sustained an injury at his previous job, which made him unable to continue working in the sector he had always been part of. His confidence was low and he joined ESF Work Routes with no idea of what to do next.
The one-to-one support of his Adviser and a placement on a free IT course helped Steven to regain his confidence, and he was soon hired by engineering business Manpower.
He said: “If it wasn’t for Reed in Partnership, I don’t know what I would have done.
“They have supported me throughout, and even further in my job. I feel I have more job opportunities now and I have the confidence in other areas that I didn’t have before.”
Catherine Bridgwood, 56, joined ESF Work Routes after 20 years of unemployment. Catherine had been out of work as she cared for her disabled husband, who sadly passed away in 2016.
Catherine, pictured above with her adviser Leanne Warrender, joined the service feeling very low and with little hope of finding employment.
But with the help of her adviser, Catherine was able to develop a CV tailored to the skill set she had developed through her caring responsibilities. After just five weeks on programme, she secured herself a job.
She said: “It’s a brilliant service, which has changed my life. I have found a job which I enjoy, which I never thought was possible.
“I can start to build a new me following my husband passing away. He would be proud of me.”
Work Routes Operations Manager Darius Hermanski, said: “This shows how a person’s life can change just by having someone to talk to and encourage them.
“It often only takes small things to change a person’s life.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “It is great to see long-term unemployment being tackled and people’s lives transformed through this individually tailored help to find fulfilling work.
“We want Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to be a great place to live, work and invest with a growing economy and thriving communities, and helping people back into employment, improving the skills of our workforce and creating more and better jobs are all key to achieving our ambitions.”
Local organisations APM, Groundwork, Housing Consortium, PM Training, and Standguide deliver the Work Routes programme in conjunction with Reed in Partnership.
For more information about the Work Routes programme visit workroutes.co.uk or call the team on 01782 406 079
Work Routes is delivered in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions and funded by the European Social Fund.