Getting neighbourhoods working again

Press Release : February 02, 2010
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A new £115m initiative to provide more help for Birmingham residents trying to get a foot on the employment ladder is proving to be very effective for both job seekers and employers alike.

And the majority of the team of people recruited to deliver the jobs project were until recently unemployed themselves.
The move to employ local people to provide vital employment advice within their own communities is part of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) initiative, a partnership between Be Birmingham, Jobcentre Plus, Birmingham City Council, and the LSC. WNF is being delivered by Edgbaston-based Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG).

One of the key features of the project is the strong outreach element which sees employment-based services taken into the heart of communities. Jobseekers can visit one of the citys many PPDG centres or, alternatively, make an appointment for a team member to come out to them and meet at a convenient venue. Sites already identified from which to provide help and advice includes libraries, community centres and working mens clubs.
Thirty-year-old Lee Boddington is a fully qualified engineer who, after feeling the harsh reality of the recession through redundancy, is now in a position to help others in a similar situation. Lee was recruited by PPDG to join its team of outreach workers.

He said: After months of unsuccessful job searching, I decided a change of direction was required and subsequently approached PPDG for some advice on finding another job, said Lee. Identifying that I had the necessary skills to work with other unemployed people, I was interviewed and Im proud to say that Im now working hard to help deliver the WNF project in south Birmingham.

Richard Fulham is another former unemployed local person recruited on to the WNF team. The former teacher said: WNF has provided PPDG with the opportunity to engage individuals within their own communities and tailor our services appropriately.

From a personal perspective, I have enjoyed being able to engage with people from a broad range of backgrounds across south Birmingham. We have not only been assisting people back into work but also enhancing their life skills by providing access to various education and vocational qualifications with regards to numeracy, literacy, IT and CSCS cards. The service is all about ensuring we can overcome any issues that an individual may have that are preventing them from returning to employment. While often challenging, my role is ultimately rewarding. There is no monotony or repetition in our role as no two people have the same requirements or personality. Im looking forward to the growth of the project and ensuring that I can assist more people back to work by improving their skills and self confidence.

PPDG chief executive Colin Birchall said: The Working Neighbourhoods Fund is an extremely important employment initiative for Birmingham as it will direct resources to where theyre needed most. Community engagement is key to success and by transforming individual lives we can in turn improve the prospects for areas of regeneration.
The company firmly believes a diverse team made up of people who understand the needs of their own communities is the best approach to achieve the desired results. Outreach provision to market the benefits to both job seekers and employers will ensure the value of the fund is maximised to its greatest potential.
Support available for job seekers includes: confidence-building and motivation courses, CV preparation and interview techniques, training and opportunities to gain new qualifications.

Activities are focused across Birmingham and anyone interested in more finding out further information about how the WNF can be of assistance is asked to contact the team on 0121 454 7231.
Birmingham based employment specialists Pertemps People Development Group are one of the UKs leading providers of Government-funded Welfare to Work initiatives holding a portfolio of employment related contracts benefiting job seekers across the West Midlands.

ENDS
Note to editors:

Based in Edgbaston, Birmingham, PPDG delivers a range of Government Welfare to Work initiatives helping disadvantaged job seekers in Birmingham, Solihull, The Black Country, Hereford and Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire, Liverpool and Teesside access the workplace or self-employment. More than 100,000 job seekers have been helped into sustained employment by the company since the projects began. It has also trained over 130,000 people in vocational skills, and more than 175,000 people have benefitted from professional information, advice and guidance services.

In 2008 PPDG was acquired by Australia-based employment and people development experts Employment Services Holdings (ESH), creating an organisation with a combined workforce of over 1,400 staff operating from 138 sites across the UK and Australia. This is a key step in a strategy which will see the group become a leading global employment services and training provider.
For further information please contact Paul Skipp at Paul Skipp Public Relations (PSPR) on 07957 457911, or paul@pspr-uk.com.

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