A work placement programme delivered by Blackpool Council is celebrating achieving a national award for the quality of its support helping residents on their journey into employment.
The Chance2Shine programme offers out-of-work adults the opportunity to gain up-to-date work experience across a range of council departments, from both blue and white collar occupational areas.
If successful, participants gain a useful reference to add to their CV, and continue to receive support in responding to job vacancies.
So far, 111 placements have been organised in the last 12 months with 43 people going onto achieve paid employment with various employers, including the council.
Private and third sector employers have offered additional placements to extend the range of opportunities available.
The success of the programme has been recognised following an in-depth assessment by national charity Fair Train, who has awarded the council its ‘gold award’ for the National Work Experience Quality Standard.
The award was presented to Blackpool Council’s deputy chief executive Carmel McKeogh by Fair Train chief executive Beth Gardner.
Mrs Gardner, said: “We rarely award a gold standard at the first attempt but we were really impressed with the genuine commitment of the Council to help people who face real challenges complete a highly tailored work placement, with excellent supervisory support throughout.
“Outcomes achieved showed how essential such a scheme can be as part of a package of measures to help people onto the jobs ladder.”
Khristopher MacLeod, who undertook a work placement as a cleaner this year and has since graduated to a permanent job, told of his experience:
“I went through a long period of being unemployed and hated it. I wanted something new so I did my training with the Chance2Shine programme, learnt new skills and gained a lot of confidence.
“I was offered two permanent jobs from private companies at the end of my placement and I now enjoy saying to people that I’m working in a full time job again.
“Without the help support I received, this wouldn’t have been possible, and I thank everyone involved in my journey back to work.”
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “The Chance2Shine initiative is without a doubt one of the best in the country at helping people who are unemployed to gain the experience necessary to get back into paid work.
“The jobs market is still tough for people, so having that extra bit of recent experience on the CV can get you noticed by employers who want willing candidates hungry to learn new skills. We now have a number of companies approaching us to organise placements for them, in addition to our continuing Council offer.”
If you can offer a quality work placement and need some help – call 0800 073 2007 for more information.