A programme which helps County Durham people into work has reached a major milestone, helping its 500th resident.
Durham Advance, a £2.5m scheme run by Durham County Council for those out of work residents with a health condition or unemployed over 50s, has now provided support to 523 people.
The programme seeks to help people overcome the barriers preventing them re-entering the labour market, so that they can progress into employment or self-employment.
It provides one to one support, whether that be to help people into employment by developing their skills or providing them with the training they need.
The programme offers:
• Outreach support in a community venue.
• Development of a clear action plan taking into account needs and goals.
• Advice on CVs, job search and interview preparation.
• Access to health and wellbeing services through Wellbeing for Life.
• Links to training and employment opportunities.
• A link to specialist support services such as welfare, housing and care.
• Access to funding to overcome barriers and improve job prospects.
Of the 523 people supported by Durham Advance since July 2018, 153 have progressed into employment or self-employment.
Among those is Andrew Prest, 39, from Ludworth, who was supported into an accounts analyst job at an accountancy firm in Middlesbrough.
He said: “Durham Advance has done a lot for my confidence and has helped me get back into work. Things are going well for me at work as I’ve now started my Level 4 qualification so it’s nice to give other people the self-belief that you can succeed if you try hard enough.”
The programme is delivered by the council’s Employability Durham team and is part funded through the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. Match funding is provided by the council.
Cllr Carl Marshall, the authority’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Durham Advance is a significant investment by both ourselves and the European Union in helping those residents who have been out of work long term, and who may have lost confidence or need new skills and training to get back into work.
“We are really pleased to have been able to support in excess of 500 people so far and that more than 150 of those have gone into employment or self-employment.
“We would encourage anyone who needs some support or advice on how to get into work to contact the Employability Durham team.”
Anyone interested in accessing support through Durham Advance should contact the Employability Durham team on 03000 262009 or [email protected]
To find out more, visit www.durham.gov.uk/employability