Groundwork NE & Cumbria is launching a second round of life skills courses, following the success of its ‘Balance Your Li£e’ course in October.

The course, which aims to support vulnerable adults to understand changes to the benefit system and to find routes in to work, will run in a number of locations in County Durham. It presents the courses in seven bitesize sessions to small groups of participants who have found themselves in similar circumstances, for example a group of lone parents or a group of young people who live on their own.

The sessions include a range of topics, including understanding Universal Credit, digital awareness, and creating a CV. The course has already proved successful with its first 50 customers, and expects further positive results with the next 50.

Participants who have completed the course have since gone on to take accredited numeracy and literacy courses, to further improve their employment prospects.

Jacqui Hodgson, Employment Programme Manager at Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “Groundwork runs a number of employability schemes throughout the North East, and we are delighted with how successful the Balance Your Li£e programme has been in County Durham.

“There are many vulnerable individuals and families in the region who could find themselves severely disadvantaged whenever changes such as Universal Credit come in, and when employment opportunities become more readily linked to digital platforms. We want to make sure that advice and guidance is available to everyone who needs it to give them the best possible chance to get into work.”

Jacqui added: “We have also found it beneficial to link customers up to partners within the local community who may be able to help them once they have finished the course. This includes libraries, Durham Business Club, and South Durham Enterprise Agency. This additional support will help the participants to maintain their success for years to come.”

Maxine, one of the participants on the Balance Your Li£e programme, said: “I really enjoyed the course and group work we carried out. It helped me to develop my teamwork and leadership skills. After I completed the course, I decided to do the numeracy and literacy courses next which would help me when applying for jobs.

“I have enjoyed my time with Groundwork and they have helped me broaden my skills and boosted my confidence, so that I can move into full time employment hopefully at some point in the near future.”

Balance Your Li£e begins from 26th March. It is delivered to existing participants on the Groundwork NE & Cumbria employment programmes