A free County Durham employment project, that has already helped 25 people back on the road to work, is now seeking its next round of recruits.
The Stepping Stones to Employment project, led by County Durham Housing Group and Auckland Castle Trust, is designed to boost confidence, develop new and transferrable skills and enhance employability in a fun and easy way.
More than 90% of those enrolled on the first course found either work or further education and training within weeks of completion, including one who is carving out a career with the prison service and another now employed as a swimming coach.
Enrolment for the September course, which will run at Auckland Youth and Community Centre in Woodhouse Close, Bishop Auckland, is open now – with applications closing on Monday, 4 September.
Susan Graydon, from Coundon, who completed the first Stepping Stones course earlier this year, said: “I wanted to change my career but felt like a dinosaur and needed to update my skills and interview techniques. Stepping Stones was excellent and I’ve already enrolled at college as a result.”
Rupert Wansbury, who also enrolled, said: “Before I found this course I was sitting in the house most days; I was worried for my future. Now I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I need to do to improve. I’ve built my confidence and received a lot of help in working out which courses are right for me so I’m looking to better my qualifications and get into a full time job.”
There are 15 places currently available for the next round of the 10-week Stepping Stones to Employment programme, with everyone taking part being offered the chance to gain skills and qualifications in areas such as health and safety, first aid, food hygiene, event planning and computing.
Crucially the course, which is free to attend, will also focus on improving self-confidence and interview skills, both of which have been identified as key barriers to re-entering employment after a period out of work.
Sean Robson, Community Training Coordinator at County Durham Housing Group, said: “Anyone who has spent time looking for a job will know that it can seriously knock your confidence. That’s why Stepping Stones places such an emphasis on growing confidence and real experience of interview techniques.
“We hope that the combination of skills training and renewed self-belief will give everyone taking part an advantage when they’re applying for jobs long into the future.”
At the end of the Stepping Stones course, all participants will have the opportunity to use their new skills in a practice interview at regional charity Auckland Castle Trust.
Alison Tweddle from Auckland Castle Trust, said: “Stepping Stones to Employment is accessible to all ages and backgrounds. Each fun and informal session is steered by attendees and is designed specifically to help people feel confident and prepared enough to re-enter the workforce or begin further training.”
The Stepping Stones to Employment project is funded by NE Procurement. For more information, or to apply, please contact Sean Robson at County Durham Housing Group on 0191 349 7753 or email@example.com