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The perfect gift this Christmas

17 December 2015

Employment figures for the UK reveal that more people in the UK are in work than ever before. Records began in 1971 and between August to October 2015, 73.9% of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, the highest employment rate since comparable statistics started being recorded. The unemployment rate, for the quarter August to October 2015, is down to 5.2% from 6.0% a year ago. This is great news for everyone making plans to celebrate the festive period. But not everyone finds it easy to get into work. Many people who are long term unemployed undervalue themselves and lack the skills required to get a new job.

Prospects, the employment, education and skills company, run the Work Programme for the DWP. This programme supports people who are long term unemployed gain the skills to get back into work. For many the biggest barrier is the way they feel about themselves. Low self esteem and a lack of confidence is debilitating, it isolates people making it harder for them to build relationships and socialise. At Prospects we recognise that building someone’s confidence is as vital as creating a good CV when it comes to successfully finding a job.

Two people we recently helped in Honiton were Andrea and Tom who both travel to attend sessions from Axminster.

Andrea, a single parent, has been out of work for two years. She had previously worked as a support worker and is hoping to return to a similar role or within the disability support sector. Tom has been out of work for 11 years, having worked as a builder before being diagnosed with epilepsy, preventing him working in the industry. Like Andrea he is a single parent.

Tom, who describes himself as a natural flirt, was drawn to Andrea after giving her a lift once when her car broke down. After discovering they only lived five minutes apart they realised how much they had in common. Both Andrea and Tom have teenage sons called Owen, and the boys share a friend. It all seemed a bit of coincidence, because before attending sessions at Prospects, they had never met.

After working with Prospects and building up her confidence, Andrea took the plunge and decided to make contact with Tom outside of the sessions. They got on like a house on fire and their relationship blossomed.

Tom’s son has noticed a distinct change in his dad – he is like his old self, after a few years of challenging circumstances and heartache. He can see a light in his dad’s face and the future is looking very positive for both families. Andrea and Tom are organising a family get together at Christmas and Tom’s daughter is planning what she is going to wear to her dad’s wedding, aside from a pair of white welly boots, Tom is planning to propose next spring on St Valentine’s day.

Andrea feels she is now in a very different place thanks to the sessions she has attended with Prospects: “Prospects has changed my life in many ways. I am much more confident and who would have thought that I would have the courage to knock on Tom’s door and approach him? Not only that but I’ve also been interviewed for a job a few weeks ago, and who knows what the future will bring for us?”

Justin Trechmann from Prospects added: “When someone has been long term unemployed they can become isolated and lose touch with their community, family and friends, this can lead to depression and mental illness. People who join the Work Programme are often a long way from the job market.

“At Prospects we work with people as individuals to help them rebuild their lives and grow their confidence. For some re-establishing contact with lost family members is a vital stepping stone, others need help to overcome low self-esteem, we work with everyone differently to help them gain the skills and motivation they need to move into work.

“We wholeheartedly believe that the Work Programme is about more than just getting people back to work, it’s about giving them back their lives. This Christmas looks like it will be a very happy one for Andrea and Tom and I know all my colleagues at Prospects will wish them a very Happy New Year. Next year we are looking forward to helping more people on their journey back to work.”

In the past month Prospects have helped 22 people in Devon back into work. That’s 22 people who are now able to move their lives forward and develop their potential.

To find out more about the work Prospects does to help get the south west working contact www.prospects.co.uk or www.gettingthesouthwestworking.co.uk.

- END -

Notes to Editor
A photograph of Tom and Andrea is attached.

About Prospects
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.

Media contact:
Alona de Havilland
Prospects
PR Manager
alona.dehavilland@prospects.co.uk
01823 362804


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