Today, April 15, is UK Employability Day, highlighting the work of organisations which help jobseekers to move towards or into work. Coordinated by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the day is being celebrated by employment support providers up and down the UK, including Prospects, who provide the Work Programme helping people who are long term unemployed across the south west.
Prospects, have run the Work Programme for more than five years and employ more than 140 people in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol. In 2014 Prospects helped a jobseeker find employment in the south west every 24 minutes, a remarkable achievement. Today the number of people supported is fewer as employment rises, however, the people we support now have more complex needs. Through the Ascent programme, which Prospects developed to deliver support to people attending the Work Programme, we have successes daily.
Ascent is a tailored programme that treats each jobseeker as an individual. It helps them address and deal with their work-related issues and overcome these through group work, individual support and targeted training. Activities aim to boost confidence and self-esteem, provide practical employability skills and build social interaction. These are vital requirements for gaining work and coping with the work environment, ensuring the people we support remain in employment long term.
There are 39 Work Programme contracts across the country with 18 prime providers. Prospects regularly out-performs the majority of them in the measures set by the government. Much of our success is down to our initiative approach and close working relationships with third sector subcontractors, Westward Pathfinder and Tomorrows People and partners who have included Shelter, Fifteen, St Loyes, the Prince’s Trust, Pentreath and many more.
One person we recently helped was Sarah* who joined the Work Programme after she was referred following a medical to assess her Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claim. ESA is a benefit for people who are unable to work due to illness or disability. Sarah had studied part-time, gaining post-graduate qualifications and volunteered while she was on ESA, however, she had not done paid work for a number of years.
Prospects made sure Sarah had a personal adviser, Trish, who she could contact directly, to support her back into work. Trish was patient, firm and fair and this helped Sarah overcome her resistance, reluctance and her fear of the unknown. Together they worked on confidence, goal setting and employability.
Sarah has now been offered a part time permanent job. She feels the Work Programme made a significant difference to her life, giving her valuable guidance and support. Sarah commented: “it
encourages people’s strengths and abilities in a supportive environment and is conducted in a very humane yet structured style.”
Sarah added: “all Prospects staff members have been friendly, approachable, respectful and considerate. They have given me the opportunity to progress and flourish.”
Employability Day is being celebrated by employment support providers opening their doors in over 65 centres across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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Notes to Editor
The Prospects Group provides tailored education, employment, training and care products and services for people at all stages of life. Each year Prospects inspires more than 500,000 people to develop their potential and transform their lives. More than 1,400 professional and skilled colleagues provide practical support to the local communities they are based in across the UK and internationally. Prospects is one of the largest employee owned companies in the UK. It is also a Leader in Diversity and ranked in the top 100 index by the National Centre for Diversity.
Employability Day has been coordinated by ERSA, the Employment Related Services Association. ERSA is the representative body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services. ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities. It has over 220 members, including all prime contractors of the Work Programme and a high number of subcontractors. The majority of its members are not for profit.
Alona de Havilland
07790 803882 or 01823 362804
Senior Communications Manager
020 8315 1023 or 07901 922211