Back to work help for Weston people

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By Carol_Deacon | Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 13:19

A project based in Weston-super-Mare is playing its part in helping local people back into work.

Currently there are 7,000 people unemployed in North Somerset which is 6.3 per cent of the working age population.

Since 2007 North Somerset Council's Ready4work project has been successful in supporting more than 500 people into employment and nearly 300 people on to training courses. 

The project is aimed at people who have been out of work for six months or more and are claiming health-related benefits such as Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance, as well as lone parents claiming Income Support.

The project provides participants with a small amount of funding for vocational training courses, along with a £200 job grant for those who start work of 16 hours or more a week. 

The job grant is designed to help people while they wait for their first pay cheque. 

It enables them to buy any equipment or clothing they need for work, pay their transport costs or anything else they need to buy in order to start work. 

During the past few years the payment of job grants has extended across North Somerset.

The training funding remains focused on those areas of North Somerset which have particularly high rates of unemployment in comparison to the rest of the district including the  South, Central, West, East and Clarence and Uphill wards of Weston-super-Mare. 

Ready4work has funded participants to undertake training which has led to them finding employment in industries such as construction, counselling, retail, driving, security work, catering, care work and teaching. 

People who have been helped by Ready4work include:

  • A father of three who had been unemployed and claiming Incapacity Benefit for more than two years because he could no longer do manual work due to arthritis. He worked as a volunteer classroom assistant at a primary school while achieving his teaching assistant qualification at Weston College, and is now employed by the school;
  • Having successfully undergone rehabilitation, a female client was unable to find employment after two years of searching. Ready4work provided funding for her to complete her Intermediate and Advanced Counselling courses while she worked as a volunteer at a hospital group treatment centre where, on completion, she was offered employment. She said: "I have now been granted a place at university to do my Foundation Degree in Counselling and feel I was given a second chance by Ready4work." and
  • Following a serious neck injury sustained in a road traffic accident, employment options were reduced for this single man and retraining was the perfect route back into work. He successfully completed his Security Industries Authority training, gained his licence and is now in full-time employment. "The opportunity given to me by Ready4work to retrain completely changed my life and improved my prospects," he said.

To find out how Ready4work might be able to help you, phone 01934 426 211 or email economic.regeneration@n-somerset.gov.uk.

Across the south west six percent of people are out-of-work which is lower than the UK average of 7.7 per cent.

All figures come from the Office for National Statistics - Regional Labour Market Statistics Report published on this month.

Figures relate to the period October 2011 to September 2012.

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