A successful programme which looks to secure employment and training for some of the hardest to reach groups of adults in St Helens has come in for high praise after helping nearly 900 local people into work.
The Ways to Work initiative is an employment programme delivered across the Liverpool City Region since 2016, with the St Helens element – delivered by St Helens Council – resulting in 878 people to date gaining employment, training or education opportunities.
Local woman Stacy Worrall from Parr is a shining example of how the scheme is helping to make a difference to those in the St Helens Borough looking for work.
Twenty-seven-year-old Stacy was referred to Ways to Work by the Jobcentre after a number of unsuccessful job interviews, two years on after leaving her previous employer for a career change.
“I had the grades and the qualifications to get a job, it’s just that the amount of people that were applying meant I kept being pipped to the post,” said Stacy.
“When I asked for feedback it was a case of: ‘someone only just beat you to it’ but that was no good for me because I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, and then I heard about the Ways to Work programme.
“I started through Learn Direct and then it was literally three-months later when I got on the Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) scheme through Ways to Work at St Helens Council.”
The Intermediate Labour Market scheme looks to secure local people a 35 hour per week employment contract paying at least the national minimum wage, over a 26-week period.
In return, businesses will receive a grant to cover the full wage costs and any other associated costs, such as national insurance.
With one-month remaining on her six-month contract as an administration assistant in the council’s regeneration department, Stacy was resigned to going down the redeployment route, which may have meant her moving on from her preferred role in administration. That was until – as if by fate – a full-time post became available in the Ways to Work team.
Just a few months in, Stacy has already received a promotion, now working as a data monitoring officer, which sees her compile all the paperwork and data coming in through the Ways to Work programme, a service Stacy says she owes a lot to.
“Ways to Work is a great programme,” Stacy said. “To now work on it having gone through the programme myself is something I’m very grateful for– and it’s nice to give something back by helping people who were in my position. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Hailing the impact of the initiative, St Helens Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, Councillor Richard McCauley, said: “As a council we are committed to supporting local people into employment – so it’s great to hear about the fantastic work that has come out of our Ways to Work scheme, and the team are looking to reach out to even more people like Stacy to help them reach their true potential.”
Ways to Work is designed to improve personal resilience and progress to sustainable employment for people over the age of 16 who are signed up to the programme.
You can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01744 676131.