City Deal ‘Working Together’ is a pilot project which aims to increase the employability and employment of 2,800 long-term unemployed and economically inactive Black Country social housing tenants, and move 900 of them into work over a three year delivery period.
Below are a couple of the projects’ success stories:
After 19 years of unemployment and health issues, Nicola joined the Working Together project after hearing about it from a family friend. Nicola ‘didn’t think she would ever be able to work again as she couldn’t even push a mop bucket’ due to severe back problems.
Intense 1-1 support, mentoring and someone to listen and motivate her was just the push Nicola needed. She completed Maths and English, employability courses, helped out on events and carried out volunteering in the office. Always keen to have a go at anything she even stepped in as Santa in the Christmas event!
The feedback and encouragement received from the staff motivated Nicola and increased her self-esteem. She was able to update her CV and include all the transferrable skills she had gained while being a full time homemaker and mother. It’s amazing how many your skills she didn’t realize she already had!
A few months into her programme the team identified a perfect job for Nicola. She had a group interview followed by a 1-1 assessment at a local trampoline park, and, following an interview on her birthday she was offered a job immediately at Jump Nation working on the front desk!
Nicola loves the interaction with the public and talking to people. Her personality is well suited to this role – she is always smiling and ready to help! Within a few months her commitment and enthusiasm paid off and she was soon promoted to Supervisor.
Nicola feels better in her health, enjoys her job and her confidence has increased so much as a result of the support she received on the Working Together project Without the support of the Walsall Adult Community College team (one of the project’s delivery partners) she wouldn’t have found her confidence and enthusiasm – she has found a new zest for life and is looking forward to a bright future.
Mother of two, Rachael was inspired to set up her own business ‘Cherryblossom Cupcakes’ when her son developed severe allergies as a baby. She began baking at home in order to control some of the allergens in cooking.
After having her second child Rachael met the ‘Working Together’ team in the Kates Hill /Sledmere Children’s Centre. Rachael found the staff friendly and approachable, she said ‘they were so easy to talk to and very supportive’ and so she decided to attend some of the courses on offer.
Rachael attended a Get Cooking course for starters! Once her confidence increased and she built up trust in the team she decided to complete her L2 English and then completed her Peer Mentoring at Summit House.
The Working Together team looked at various employment options including fostering and cleaning that would fit in with her young family and caring ]commitments, but none of these options worked out to be viable. Rachael enjoyed baking and self-employment seemed a perfect solution. Rachael’s business ‘Cherryblossom Cupcakes’ is now established – with the support of Sue Craddock at Just Straight Talk (one of the Dudley Working Together delivery partners) it has given Rachael the confidence to pursue her dream job. Sue said. ‘The Working Together project is fantastic – it’s voluntary and gives people the opportunity to drop in and get whatever support they need’.
Rachel still receives post-employment support from her mentors at Working Together and knows if she is having a bad day or if she needs a boost or just some advice she can come back and ask for help. She is keen to develop her brand and offer allergy free cakes with quality ingredients at affordable prices. In the near future Rachael hopes to get a car and be able to offer a delivery service as well!
Cherryblossom cupcakes will be attending the Christmas ‘Working Together’ events so why not come along to sample the cupcakes and see what support we can offer you!
For further information, please contact Jacki Lakin, City Deal Director, on 01902 571201.