Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Millions of Pounds to Tackle Long-Term Unemployment

By Ben Aulakh

Warwickshire is the latest area benefit from an £11 million Midlands-wide project which aims to help more than 5000 people back into work.

Called Connections to Opportunities, the scheme will provide extra support across the county to help anyone who is considered long-term unemployed back into employment.

The scheme is a partnership between regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and Warwickshire County Council.

Peter Fowler, from the council said, “This is about reaching out to people who may feel demotivated and facing barriers to employment.

“It’s likely those who have been on long-term benefits will have low self esteem, made worse by unemployment; they might appreciate a buddy to improve self-confidence, develop new skills or even start a business.”

The hope is that over the three year program 1500 people across the county will make significant progress towards employment, with at least 150 getting a job.

It will provide targeted support on top of that already provided by JobCentre Plus and the council.
Mark Pearce, from Advantage West Midlands, said: “A one size fits all approach does not always work as each area and individual has different barriers to employment, from travel, impaired mental health, or language problems.
“This programme aims to catch people who have fallen through the cracks of mainstream support and offer them hope for a productive future.”
A learning network has also been established around the programme to ensure that the experience gained and the lessons learned in implementing the plan are put back into improving it for the future.

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