JOB-hungry people living in some of Devon's most disadvantaged areas are to get a vital boost thanks to a powerful programme launched by leading national employment charity Shaw Trust . Working with its partner, Exeter-based St Loye's Foundation, it is
JOB-hungry people living in some of Devon's most disadvantaged areas are to get a vital boost thanks to a powerful programme launched by leading national employment charity Shaw Trust .Working with its partner, Exeter-based St Loye's Foundation, it is introducing Devon Works across the county.It is part of a package of programmes developed through Jobcentre Plus, co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Work and Pensions. Shaw Trust and St Loye's aim to help some 1,000 people by boosting their employability and skills and to make sure at least 350 of them find jobs.Areas being targeted in North Devon are Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Bideford, Westward Ho! and rural Torridge"This programme is very much about getting into the heart of the community, focusing on those areas that have been identified by partners in Devon as in need of additional investment for economic regeneration ," says Kath Stephens, Shaw Trust Devon Works Project Manager. "It will be about going out into community centres, setting up activities and surgery days for people to come along, opening up our help to many more people in Devon and supporting them into work via other programmes. "We will be able to provide individuals with one to one support, with for example IT training, confidence building, motivational training and help with job applications," she added. St Loye's and Shaw Trust will be working in partnership to inspire people to join the programme, preparing them for work through the personal development courses, place them in work and critically offer post employment support. "There are very strong links between our two charities which means we have an excellent relationship and it works so well with one sourcing and delivering training and the other delivering job outcomes," said Karen Clarke Head of Business Development and Marketing at St Loye's. "Improving the employability, skills and life chances of unemployed people and restoring self-esteem is a priority for both of us," added Karen, whose charity has for more than 70 years been helping local people with disabilities or long term ill heath to find work. Devon Works will be targeted at workless people living in the 12 areas identified within Devon County Councils Regeneration Action Plan as most in need of support. Support will also be available across the Devon County Council area for workless parents. Plymouth and Torbay have separate programmes. ESF activity is all about adding value to existing programmes and activities and will target people who may have additional barriers in engaging with mainstream activity. Particular target groups will be people with disabilities and health problems, people aged 50+, workless parents, including lone parents and people who are disadvantaged in the labour market such as offenders. A crucial part of Devon Works will be Shaw Trust's spearheading of 12 programmes working with all community groups and regeneration teams in the county. "This is very much about working with other agencies and organisations to help them achieve and sustain. We will provide them with training support, advice and guidance," Kath added. Shaw Trust is the largest independent charity to be awarded the UK's second highest award of £46 million ESF funding. In line with Shaw Trust's vision that every person has the opportunity to work, these contracts will enable the Trust to help even more people with disability or disadvantage to find work and achieve independence. The awards are being co-financed by the DWP and the Learning Skills Council. Shaw Trust has set up a freephone number: 0808 180 2005 for people who want to work and employers who want to access them.