Free employment and training programme launched
Clare Elliott, Tom Stannard, Cllr Graham and Vicky Iveson
Wakefield Council has launched a free service providing advice to help unemployed residents find work, help residents in work to improve their skills, make a career change or find opportunities to learn and develop and to support local businesses in development of their current employees for future skills needs.
The Step-Up programme will be held at Kellingley Social Club, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm in the first instance, with some late night openings to follow. They are all free of charge.
Step-Up aims to improve the financial prosperity of both residents and companies by working with companies to identify opportunities for growth, skills challenges and shortages and supporting the development of new skills pathways to enable existing employees to move into higher paid work and to open up opportunities for those not in work to re-enter the labour market.
The programme is open to both unemployed and employed residents who want to explore ways to achieve their career goals and to employers who want to develop career progression routes to ensure they recruit and keep the very best people.
Cllr Michael Graham, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Skills, Digital and Technology Capabilities, said: "The Step-Up service is a fantastic opportunity to bring together a wide range of partners and employers to support local residents to find jobs and improve their skills.
"The programme is part of the £50million Knottingley Vision and Action Plan which was developed together with residents, businesses and students and now we hope local people can reap the rewards."
After opening its doors on 1 July, the programme is already actively working with five residents, two of whom are already being matched to appropriate vacancies, and three who are being supported to find the training they need to start new career journeys.
Vicky Iveson is the first person to have been successfully supported by the Step-Up programme.
Vicky, a 44-year-old mother-of-one from Ferrybridge, said: "I was made redundant in May after working for the past 15 years in an office environment. I was looking for work and when I heard about Step-Up and I thought that's probably something that can really help me.
"I made an appointment with the team and they were really helpful and supportive. I explained that I wanted to become a teaching assistant and they arranged for me to start a free course with Wakefield Council's Adult Education Service.
"In the meantime, the support I've received from the Step-Up team has given me the confidence to find a part-time job too.
"The Step-Up programme has already really helped me and I'm really grateful for their support. I can't recommend them enough."
Step-Up is a key project in the Wakefield District Economic Strategy, which aims to work with businesses and residents to be in a position to take advantage of industry changes and the career opportunities that exist now and in the future.
The service is initially being launched in Knottingley and Ferrybridge before being made available across the wider Wakefield district.
For more information, please call 07584 532887 or visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/step-up