Skills for Employment is a three-year programme of work placements and skills accreditations aimed at helping unemployed local people gain the skills and experience they need to secure long-term employment. To be eligible to take part in the programme, participants must be 19+ (or 18+ if in receipt of out of work benefits), have a skills gap, lack of experience or other barrier to employment such as a disability, health issue, lack of confidence, or criminal record.
In late 2015, Manchester Athena, a strategic alliance of 11 Greater Manchester housing associations set up to bid for public sector contracts, secured a c.£400,000 contract funded by the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency to deliver the Skills for Employment programme. The contract is managed by The Manchester Growth Company, a consortium of companies focused on growth in Manchester, with One Manchester leading the housing association delivery, dealing with reporting requirements and ensuring quality outcomes for customers.
The project officially launched at the end of February 2016 and will run until end of July 2019, by which point a total of 6000 local people should have benefited from the wide range of opportunities available to help get people ‘job-ready’. The aim is to help people overcome barriers to long-term employment, which can be anything from being a carer or an ex-offender, to having a disability or long-term health condition, not speaking English as a first language or struggling with confidence and motivation, by providing people with opportunities to gain the real workplace skills and experience employers are looking for.
There are currently a range of non-accredited learning outcomes including interview skills, personal development and self-employment for beginners sessions, as well as more than 90 work experience opportunities ranging from caretaking to customer services to surveying assistants available for Greater Manchester residents and the breadth of opportunities available continues to grow.
"When I started the placement it was scary because I’d never had a proper paid job and I thought I’ll never be able to do what they all do. By the end of the placement I was taking payments, booking repairs, working on reception, using the computer systems and even taking calls. I gained so many new skills and confidence. Now I know I can do it; I can learn quickly, multi-task and fit in with a team and, when I go for interviews, I can talk about all the skills I have."
Fatima, who did a customer service placement with One Manchester
For more information about the Skills for Employment programme email firstname.lastname@example.org
I gained so many new skills and confidence. Now I know I can do it.
This project is part funded by The European Social Fund