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Stepping Up Employment Support

Wednesday 16th September, 2020

A co-ordinated network of employment and skills support is being rolled out across Somerset to boost existing provision in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative, involving Somerset County Council, the four district councils and partners, is designed to support young people just starting out as well as those who may have lost their job or anyone looking for training and skills for a change of career.

The pandemic and lockdown affected business, employment and opportunities across the county, so steps are being taken to increase support.

A new website www.stepupsomerset.org.uk will go live on 14 September and is a one-stop shop for those seeking help, advice and information available in the county. Further help can also be provided via a single phone helpline: 0300 790 6275.

There will be one to one support available in all four of Somerset’s district council areas from Sedgemoor – through the Under Construction HQ; Somerset West and Taunton; Mendip; and South Somerset.

People will be able to get help and advice on looking for a job, writing or updating their CV, interview preparation, apprenticeships, and skills training. The support can be tailored to specific needs.

The public computers in all Somerset County Council libraries are now accessible for anyone looking for new opportunities – pre-booking is essential. This is especially useful for jobseekers who may not have the digital technology at home.

The wide-ranging project is being funded through the business rates retention scheme that allows councils in Somerset to retain a proportion of the rates income locally to invest in developing the economy.

Case study:

Under Construction is a project in Sedgemoor maximising the opportunities arising from investment and development in the district. 100 Women First is part of the initiative, focusing on opportunities for women.

Rita’s story:

Rita had a varied career, gaining lots of transferable skills and qualifications and had never been out of work until she was made redundant in late 2018. Not securing a job made Rita feel extremely low so she joined the 100 Women programme.

Rita’s goal was to return to the construction industry.  The programme was able to fund Rita to undertake a CPCS Forward Tipping Course. Rita was the first woman to undertake this course at Weston College and to pass with full marks.

As part of the 100 Women First programme, Rita has taken part in many events including Body Image, Hinkley Point C Tour, CV Workshop, Stress Management course and has been provided with a six-month gym membership to support her overall health and wellbeing.

In a meeting with a local contractor Rita’s success was mentioned, this led to them employing Rita, starting as a dumper driver earlier this year.

“I could not have done any of this without the programme and the support I’ve received, it’s been life changing! After being so low I am now so happy and proud of my achievements,” she said.

Anyone looking for their next job, starting a new career, working on employability skills or just starting out in the world of work, will find information and support to help them on their work journey, check out all the useful information here: www.stepupsomerset.org.uk

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