Scheme to help disadvantaged into work given the go-ahead

A scheme to help dozens of disadvantaged and long-term job seekers in Redditch get into work has been given the go-ahead.

The Employment Support Pilot will give people in Batchley and Brockhill tailored job advice and specialist support in the heart of their own community.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded Redditch United Football in the Community a £173,278 contract to set up and deliver the three-year scheme starting this summer.

The Batchley and Brockhill pilot is one of nine being set up in communities across the wider West Midlands where unemployment is high and levels of pay low.

The scheme, which is being funded by the WMCA using a £4 million Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) grant, will also help equip low paid workers with the skills needed to land better jobs.

Cllr George Duggins, the WMCA’s portfolio holder for Productivity and Skills, said: “There are record numbers of jobs being created in the West Midlands but some people are still missing out.

“So I’m pleased to have Redditch United Football in the Community on board and together help make sure that everyone in society has the chance to benefit from the job opportunities out there.”

The Redditch scheme along with the eight others across the region will help up to 4,500 people find work, with an emphasis on supporting people in to better paid jobs. There will be a particular focus on young people, disabled people and other vulnerable groups.

The schemes are part of the wider transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands following the region’s decision to form a combined authority, led by an elected mayor.

Cllr Matt Dormer, leader of Redditch Borough Council and a member of the WMCA board, said: “This council welcomes this as we are committed to providing opportunities which will enable and encourage our residents to stay in the borough and prosper.

“Everyone deserves and opportunity and this support is now available for those residents who need it.”

Jacintha Hodgson, managing director of Redditch United Football in the Community, said the club was honoured to be working with the WMCA to increase employment opportunities for people from the Batchley and Brookhill areas of Redditch.

“We thank them for this opportunity to build upon the community hub we have been building at the football club,” she said.

“We are grateful to Redditch Borough Council, West Mercia Police Force, North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration, and other organisations, such as Worcestershire YMCA, for their offers of support, to ensure this project is a success.

“In partnership, we know we can deliver an excellent service to the residents in our area. We look forward to building closer links with schools and businesses and other stakeholders over the coming years.”

The location-based support is aimed at making it easier to engage with local residents and to encourage the communities themselves to use their existing social networks to help spread the word about the opportunities and support available.

Evidence suggests that neighbours, extended family members and others in the local community can be an effective channel for getting information to the right people.

The other eight schemes are in:

  • Birchills Leamore, Walsall
  • Binley and Willenhall, Coventry
  • Glascote, Tamworth
  • Shard End, Birmingham
  • Washwood Heath, Birmingham
  • Cannock North
  • Chelmsley Wood, Solihull
  • Camp Hill, Nuneaton

 PICTURE CAPTION: Julie Nugent, WMCA director of productivity and skills, Cllr Gorge Duggins, Cllr Matt Dormer, and Jacintha Hodgson.

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