People who have lost their job or are looking for new employment are being offered help in County Durham.
Durham County Council is encouraging residents aged 25 and over to take advantage of a tailored support programme which could boost their chances of finding work.
The council’s Employability Durham Team is urging people to contact them for assistance now, so that they can use the period of ‘lockdown’ to best prepare for future job roles.
The team’s dedicated advisers are helping people to explore their employment options and identify any barriers preventing them achieving their goals before helping with a range of actions including training, CV writing, job searching, confidence building and interview preparation.
Margaret Reed from Chester-le-Street found employment as a cleaner in a health centre with help from the team.
Grandmother Margaret was keen to find part time work, close to home. Adviser Emma West helped her to find and apply for jobs online and supported her to apply for a DBS check and purchase interview clothes.
Margaret said: “I feel much better being back in work and the part time hours allow me to have the rest of the day to myself. I’m very grateful for all Emma’s support.”
Cllr Carl Marshall, the council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We know that the pandemic has led to a significant number of people losing their jobs and many more at risk of unemployment over the coming months.
“We want to provide as much support as possible to help these people back into work or improve their employment prospects and signing up to our support programmes now will give people the best chance of identifying the right roles and being successful in the coming weeks and months.
“Employability Durham can help with all aspects of getting into work, from organising training courses to helping decide what to wear to an interview. The team can help to address issues which might prevent someone from starting work too, such as help with their mental health, housing problems or debt management support.”
John Tindale, employability manager for Durham County Council, said: “We speak to people about their skills and passions, as well as their worries, family situations, housing set-up and health concerns to find out what their abilities and limitations are.
“Then we work with them to figure out what will be beneficial in moving forward. We know it’s really important to do this with them, discussing rather than instructing, as they need to be part of planning their own future.”
“Addressing the bigger things in someone’s life has to come ahead of thinking about work. It’s obvious that someone can’t hold down a job if we haven’t initially addressed their childcare needs.”
The team can also help to purchase replacement ID needed for employment offer support with costs such as travel, clothing, food and childcare until a person’s first wage is paid. Support is available to explore self-employment options and access business planning services too.
In normal circumstances, the team would meet people in their community but during the pandemic, they’ve found new ways to ensure participants can still access help, including online and virtual services such as guiding people through online application processes using screen sharing technology.
Appointments with the team can be made by emailing [email protected] or by contacting the team through its Employability Durham Facebook page.
Further information about the Employability Durham Team is available at www.durham.gov.uk/employability