Employability Day 2020: How we’re helping customers learn new skills and find employment even through lockdown

To mark Employability Day, Gail Jenson, Riverside’s lead for Employment and Training, talks about the change in the way they deliver services to Riverside customers who are looking for training opportunities or work. As well as supporting those who have been affected by the recent Covid-19 situation and helping them to find direction.

Before the lockdown Riverside’s employment and training service supported customers to find work or training opportunities by engaging with them through face-to-face sessions, job clubs or through collaboration with other partners. Then overnight Covid-19 (coronavirus) brought unprecedented changes to our service delivery. The team across the country responded brilliantly.  All our project officers are now working from home and have transformed a face-to-face service to over the phone, online or text messaging. All to support our customers, develop their skills and find opportunities for work.

We’ve recently supported customers like Shaun who had found himself out of work due to health issues, but was desperate to get back into employment. He was keen to re-sit his Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) test and we were able to help him with a grant from our Ladders of Aspiration fund.

We sourced and arranged a five day online learning course during the early stages of lockdown. Shaun really enjoyed the course and his confidence soon began to grow again. It motivated him to apply for jobs again and he has recently started a driving job.  He told us that just knowing he now had the appropriate licence made a big difference to his motivation, his self-esteem and confidence. Shaun is enjoying being out on the road again and thanked us for the support he got via the phone and online.

Another customer we were able to support was Salam who was keen to continue her learning during lockdown. Salam has been working with our employment and training service since last year. She completed her English to Speaker of Other Language (ESOL), plus built some functional skills. We were able to help her with a grant to take part in an online level 3 Interpreting course, she’s really enjoyed this course and we’re working on the next step with her to apply for work as an interpreter for her local council.

The Employment & Training team can help to support our customers to create their CV’s, currently we are finding for some customers it is the first time they’ve created a one.  If they don’t have experience of online Job searches/applications – we can support them with job searching and applying online. If they’ve not attended job interviews for a long time – we can prep them and support them through interview stages. If they have out-of-date training/qualifications – we can organise free or pay for online courses through the Ladders of Aspiration funding. They might have to re-train to transfer skills into a new job sector – we can advise, search for new training courses to give them new skills or organise work trials.

Our employment and training support is more important now than ever, with high numbers of people being made redundant and moving to Universal Credit. The negative emotional impact can be enormous.  We help customers quickly and reassure them that they are not alone. By guiding them and supporting them we can build their motivation and confidence to move back into the workplace and get their lives back on track.

If you’re a Riverside customer and struggling to find work, need support to apply for jobs or just looking for training opportunities then get in touch by either speaking to a Riverside housing officer or support worker who can refer you or email [email protected]