I have come across a magnitude of people who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to gain access to employment - making them victims of the benefits system. People have said "it's not what you know, it's who you know" when trying to find employment.
This project is about using professional contacts and training opportunities to give people access not only to employment but to career opportunities.
One example is Shin who worked as a car mechanic then left employment to care for his mother. He had no relevant employment history and was struggling to find employment that would support his family. He liked cooking and we enrolled him on a Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene course and then progressed him onto a Level 3 Diploma in Catering - he now works as a catering manager in a care home where we have professional contacts.
All Shin needed was an opportunity to be given a chance to demonstrate his abilities and aspirations.
Bridget is another success story. She had come to the UK from Spain and had no employment history. She wanted to start working in care and we provided her with an opportunity to start work as a carer in a nursing home, enlist on a GNVQ Level 2 in Care - then a GNVQ Level 3. Her self confidence grew and she was promoted to a senior carer position. Now she's doing nurse training and will be a registered nurse in 2022.
Some of the best people we have supported into employment have had no experience, few education opportunities and nobody willing to take a chance or anybody who could recognise their potential. Now - with COVID-19 - the challenge for people is greater as businesses are closing, opportunities are declining and competition for jobs is increasing. More people than ever now need to be given the chance to get a foot in the door and the chance to show what they can achieve.
We aim to develop a network which provides people who want it the professional development opportunities, training and access to employers to support them with their career and professional development.