Our skills and employability work in the past few months has included the following:
- Starting to help unemployed people set up their own businesses through our New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) prime contract across Mercia and the Midland Shires as well as parts of Birmingham and Solihull. The new contract from the Department for Work and Pensions offers mentoring and financial support to jobseekers looking to start their own business. The contract builds on our previous work in this area where we have seen the creation of around 200 businesses – in areas from sports therapy to IT – through our help and support.
- Achieving a bronze in the Fair Train Work Experience Quality Standard for work experience across all of our UK delivery. The assessment is part of a nationally accredited framework for employers and training providers offering work experience, including within Traineeships, to ensure it is of a good quality and covers all the characteristics proven to enhance the chances of gaining employment.
- Signing the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) charter and joining their campaign to help improve digital skills across Scotland. The Scottish government has identified ‘more than a million people in Scotland are missing the skills and confidence to get things done online’. The campaign is to ensure everyone has the access, motivation and basic online skills required to participate fully in the digital world.
- Completing our Supported Job Search (SJP) pilot contract in the West Midlands. Referrals have now stopped and all customers are undertaking their 35 hours a week supported jobsearch activity. We had more than 750 starts on the programme. To date more around 40 people have finished the pilot. Another 200 have signed off benefit, two thirds of whom have started a job.
- Currently implementing a contract with Sheffield City Council to deliver a range of employment support and in-work support for young people aged 18-24 in the Sheffield City region in partnership with the council. This contract will provide both learndirect and Sheffield City Council the opportunity to trial alternative models of delivery to support young people into sustained employment.