Greater third sector role urged in tackling unemployment

1370332885
28 Nov 2014
by Neil Skinner

Charities and other third sector organisations should take a greater role in tackling unemployment and boosting employment skills. That’s the call from a leading charity tacking homelessness and social exclusion ahead of a special conference in Nottingham.

Framework, which helps more than 11,000 homeless and vulnerable people a year across the East Midlands, will be hosting its third annual Impact Briefing at The Albert Hall (on Tuesday, December 2.) The event, which is expected to be attended by around 200 people, will focus on its efforts to help people into training and employment.

The charity exists to do three things: to help homeless people, to prevent people from becoming homeless, and to provide vulnerable people with new opportunities to lead independent lives. To achieve the third of these goals it has developed a pathway of education, volunteering and employment related services over the last eight years – working with central and local government to support people into work and training. It now includes a specialist skills and recruitment agency (EVE Works) and a community interest company (EVE Trades) managing eight social enterprises.

In 2013/14 it helped more than 200 people into employment, and many hundreds more into work placements and volunteering opportunities.

The free event (Making Work Work – How the Third Sector can help vulnerable people into employment) will feature delegates from employment providers, local authorities and the third sector. Featuring a keynote address by Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of ERSA (Employment Related Support Association). The event will include:

  • Informative and inspirational workshops, featuring demonstrations of specialist skills training and even the role of comedy in tackling unemployment.
  • An introduction to Social Enterprise and its role in boosting employment
  • How Framework works with government and Job Centres to ensure the successful implementation of Welfare to Work initiatives.

Claire Eden, Head of Employment, Volunteering and Social Enterprise at Framework, explained:  “Tackling and preventing homelessness forms only part of our work with the people we exist to support. We now focus substantial resources on helping people to develop new skills, to experience the workplace, and to eventually find employment. We do this because we believe passionately that helping people find work and developing their skills is the most effective way to tackle long-term social exclusion.

“For that reason I believe strongly that third sector organisations across the county have a vital role to play in tackling unemployment. Intergenerational unemployment and social exclusion are problems that we come up against time and again in our work. It is vital that Framework and other similar organisations take a lead in implementing the solutions and share responsibility with central government for doing so.

“Our 2014 Impact Briefing is a platform for us to share our work with a wider audience; to explain what we do, how and why we do it. We also hope it will inspire others to support our endeavours – to be inspired by the people we help and to examine the roles they can play in assisting our work.”

EVE Works is a subcontractor helping to implement the Work Programme, a government scheme to help long-term unemployed people back into work.

Alex, 20, from Creswell was unemployed for more than a year before she was referred to EVE Works by her local Job Centre. She is now working in a Worksop factory and is thriving.

She explained: “Being unemployed for so long was horrible. I was very shy and very nervous at interviews and was referred to EVE Works after failing in a lot of interviews. They helped me to develop my CV, my interview technique. They helped me apply for jobs and even got me an interview where I work now.

“They took me from being a quiet little girl in a corner to where I am now – having a job, knowing that I can do my job well, and earning money.”

EVE Trades provides training for unemployed people in practical skills, and allows people to experience the working world as part of its not for profit social enterprises.

Lynn was helped by EVE Trades to develop new skills after a long period of unemployment. Based at the EVE Trades Workshop in Bulwell, she undertook a range of courses in DIY, painting and decorating and woodwork. She is now working again.

She said: “Before I came here I was lacking a lot of confidence and self-esteem…I didn’t want to get out of bed or interact with anybody. When I first came here I did a DIY course…I never wanted to become a carpenter but it was a great experience. Attending The Workshop was the beginning of my complete change – from what I was last year to what I am today. Today I am motivated, always on the go, always looking for something else to do and always wanting to be busy. My future looks great and that would not have happened without EVE Trades and Framework.”

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