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100 into work milestone marks Employability Day

Today 29 June is UK Employability Day, a day of celebration for organisations helping jobseekers to progress in work. Coordinated by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), hundreds of employment support centres and employers are raising awareness about what they do to help people into work.

Middlesbrough based charity Actes, which works closely with hard to reach communities across Tees Valley to combat unemployment and reduce isolation, is marking UK Employability Day by announcing that it has supported over 100 young people into employment through the New Directions Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) over since its inception in July 2016.  The programme provides people aged 15 to 29 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) with one-to-one support to get into work or training.  This includes practical support with CV writing and interview techniques, signposting to jobs, volunteering and training opportunities and support with building confidence and improving employability skills. 

Twenty-four-year-old Hannah Harvey from Billingham is the 100th jobseeker that Actes has helped into work through New Directions.  After being referred by Billingham Jobcentre Actes offered Hannah a range of support through New Directions, including mentoring to overcome anxiety issues and identify her strengths and help with her CV to better reflect her attributes.  Hannah, a mum of two, has now secured a role as a part-time enabler with health and social care support provider UBU, after six years unemployed.

Hannah comments: “I was used to supporting my son and my mam in my personal life, so I knew I wanted to help people in my work, but I didn’t have the confidence or focus to know where to start.  My New Directions advocate Carl helped me to realise what my strengths were and how to use these to help sell myself on my CV.  He also helped me to manage my anxiety and build my confidence and I feel much better about going out and speaking to people now.

“I feel really proud of myself getting the role at UBU and I’m nervous and excited to get started.  When I found out I’d got the job I was really emotional as I know I’ll be able to provide a better life for my kids and I would recommend New Directions to other young people who are struggling to get into work and I have already put a friend in touch with the programme.”

Twenty-year-old Sheryce Gibson from Middlesbrough has also secured employment with UBU after signing up to New Directions in February following a year unemployed.  Through the programme, Sheryce was referred onto Actes’ Level 2 course Defining Futures for help with employability including CV and cover letter writing.  Sheryce, who had previously completed a Level 2 counselling course at college before pursuing a career in retail, had decided she wanted to go back to helping people, so when the opportunity came up with UBU her Youth Employment Advocate Eilis Sexton provided help with interview techniques to ensure she was part of the cohort.

Sheryce started her role as an enabler working 30 hours a week in May. She said: “I support a group of adults with learning difficulties with day to day tasks and I really enjoy it.  Helping people is something I’ve always wanted to do so I find it really rewarding to know I make a difference to their lives.”

New Directions is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) along with the Department for Work and Pensions.  The ESF is a vital resource for organisations supporting disadvantaged jobseekers into work.  Programmes such as New Directions provide employment and skills support to people that fall outside mainstream provision.  The UK received ESF funding between 2007 and 2013.  The employment support sector is calling on the government to act now to safeguard the investment to ensure there is no loss of funding to disadvantaged communities.

Actes and thousands of other organisations help transform the lives of jobseekers and their communities in their local area.  UK Employability Day is a crucial day of recognition for the employment support sector and underlines the critical work of providers.

Sandra Phillips, chief executive at Actes, comments: “UK Employability Day provides a really good opportunity to celebrate the work of organisations like ours that undertake valuable work to help people move closer to, or into, employment.  We’re delighted that over the past two years we’ve been able to use our expertise to help over 100 young people, including those with complex needs, into employment and we’re currently assisting many more to reach their full potential.”