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Stepping Stones To Improve Employability


Sep 24, 2016

A new scheme, designed to improve employment prospects in, and around, Bishop Auckland is being launched by two of the town’s biggest organisations.

Regional charity, Auckland Castle Trust, has joined forces with social housing provider, Dale & Valley Homes, to help ensure people have the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workplace.

The Stepping Stones to improve employability project, funded by NE Procurement, is targeted specifically at those experiencing long term unemployment or lacking in the experience and self-assurance to find, and thrive in, voluntary or paid employment.

Based on successful training models already implemented by Auckland Castle Trust, the pilot scheme will offer a rolling programme of two individual courses, each designed to prepare participants for applying for work, performing well in an interview and entering the workforce with an enhanced set of practical and social skills.

Alison Tweddle, Community Outreach Officer for Auckland Castle Trust, said: “Stepping Stones to improve Employment has been specifically developed to help people feel confident and prepared enough to re-enter the workforce or find a job for the very first time.  Each session will be steered by those taking part, with a fun and informal approach to ensure they are accessible to all ages and backgrounds.

“This will not only help to upskill members of the general public but we will also be partnership working with Dale & Valley Homes to deliver the project and hopefully continue it independently in future years.”

The first Stepping Stones to improve Employability course, which begins in November, will encourage members to plan a number of  day trips, offering them an opportunity to research various destinations, plan budgets, create purchase orders, develop an itinerary, write a covering letter and gain an overall awareness of health and safety requirements.

Similar transferrable skills will be developed in the second course, beginning in March 2017 which is based around participants planning, and delivering, a small scale event.

Both courses will run for up to four months, with weekly, two hour sessions at Mickle Grove Community Training Hub led by a dedicated team of experienced facilitators.

At the end of each course all those taking part will be given the opportunity to celebrate their progress and experience a practice interview.  There will also be an opportunity to apply for real positions within Auckland Castle Trust, should suitable roles be available, and sign up for further training with Dale & Valley Homes.

Kimberley Batey, Community Training Project Coordinator for Dale & Valley Homes said: “Stepping Stones to improve Employability will enhance the learning opportunities already offered by Dale & Valley Homes and have a direct impact on improving the employability of those taking part.

“Not only will this prove personally beneficial for our participants but it could also help to improve the skills base in Bishop Auckland and the surrounding area.”

Rod Brasington, chief executive of NE Procurement, funders of the project, said: “We are proud to work with our members to provide community regeneration and employment opportunities like Stepping Stones for people in the North East. We’re very excited to see how the initiative improves the employability prospects of residents in, and around, the Bishop Auckland area and wish them all the best of luck!”

Anyone wanting to register interest in the Stepping Stones to Improve Employability project is being asked to contact Kimberley Batey at Dale & Valley Homes on 0746 940 2619 or  01388 770974 or email k.batey@daleandvalleyhomes.co.uk.  Expressions of interest for the first project must be received by October 31.

By Emily