Big Lottery Fund are now behind the Steps to Work ‘One Stop Employment Shop’ Work on the Horizon located in Bloxwich Town Centre, serving some of the most deprived wards in Walsall.
Each year Work on the Horizon needs £350,000 to stay open and provide information, advice, guidance and learning opportunities to unemployed residents in Bloxwich and surrounding wards.
The Big Lottery Grant of £481,260 awarded to Steps to Work, aims to help unemployed people into employment by enabling unemployed customers to access a range of support services that will increase their confidence and motivation as well as their skills and bring them closer to employment, education and training.
In the last 3 years Work on the Horizon helped 373 local people gain employment with 85% of those remaining in sustainable long term employment, improving the quality of their lives and helping to regenerate the local economy. This has had significant impact on the local area. In addition 484 people have gained qualifications which will help them to obtain future work.
Work on the Horizon has supported thousands of people since opening its doors in 2005. Single mother Christine was unemployed and called into the high street shop. Work on the Horizon were able to help Christine by giving her up to date and clear information, advice and guidance about the employment market in the Walsall area and the steps she needed to take to access the career of her choice. As a first step, Christine was encouraged to enrol on health and safety in the workplace and emergency first aid courses as the starting point for her quest for employment.
Work on the Horizon were able to access suitable courses for her and after a couple of weeks Christine passed both courses with flying colours. Her next step was to enrol on a care course at Walsall College and start a part time job with Accord Group as a Personal Assistant. Christine has now been employed there for over 3 months and is really enjoying her work. With the hands on experience Christine will gain through her work, she hopes that this will enable her to enrol on a nursing course at Wolverhampton College in 2014 and lead to her main goal of working in Adult Nursing.
“I am extremely grateful for all the help, encouragement and advice I have received and I am really happy to now be in employment with a reputable company” added Christine.
In addition to the advice and guidance service in the heart of the community, there are many outreach partners who offer services at Work on the Horizon, including money management from the Citizens Advice Bureau, NHS Stop Smoking Service, local colleges and housing associations.
John Brewer, Chief Executive added;
“We are delighted that Big Lottery Funding will enable us to continue to provide opportunities for the long-term unemployed, enabling people to make positive changes to their own lives for the next 2 years. We work with partners to make a difference in the local community and now have a resource that will allow us to deliver what the community demands.”
David had been unemployed since 1995 and due to health issues, he initially claimed incapacity benefits. Being supported by Steps to Work and the Governments Work Programme, David sought extra support from Work on the Horizon where he was able to undertake fortnightly meetings with a Project Officer in his local town of Bloxwich. He was assisted with one to one job search and advice in identifying his training needs. David had previous security experience and expressed an interest in returning to the security industry, however, he did not have the qualifications required, or know how to look for work.
Work on the Horizon were able to assist David by accessing a four day Security training course which included a SIA badge and also assisted him in achieving a Level 2 Health & Safety certificate which further enhanced his CV.
By helping David with his job search, training needs and CV David secured full time employment as a Security Guard. Without advice and guidance from Work on the Horizon David feels he would still have been unemployed and was extremely grateful for all of this help.
“I had been out of work for 17 years and its felt even longer, to try and get a job especially not knowing where to go for help when you feel like just a statistic is a real issue. It is a confidence boost knowing that I am finally employable and I have a reason to get up in the morning again” added David.
Tammy who is a volunteer at Work on the Horizon says; “In general it's unbelievably difficult to get a job; I am volunteering at Work on the Horizon so I can gain some experience and confidence. I am just so glad in the new year I will still be able to walk down my local high street and access the job search facilities from people I know who are interested in helping me.”
Notes to Editor:
For further information, please contact:
Katie Sohal, Marketing Officer, Steps to Work
Office: 01922 651870 Ext: 2054
J-peg images are available upon request. Please confirm when article will be published.
Steps to Work (Walsall) Limited is a registered charity dedicated to helping local unemployed and other disadvantaged people find and keep sustainable, rewarding employment.
Visit www.stepstowork.co.uk for case studies from our customers and employers.
About Walsall ‘One Stop’ Employment Shops
Shops are located at Work on the Horizon, Bloxwich High Street, Darlaston JET in Darlaston Town Centre, Walsall Town Centre- Challenge Building and at Caldmore Green.
The services are currently financed by European Regional Development Funding, VIEW Funding and Walsall Council due to end 31.12.2013
The Walsall ‘One Stop’ Employment Shops target local areas of disadvantage in the Walsall borough. Customers can gain advice and guidance on all things work related to prepare them for employment by a dedicated team who can mentor and support them on their journey to employment.