The Neighbourhood Employment and Skills Service (NESS) was set up in November 2011 as a £2 million project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Of the residents supported 58 per cent were out of work for more than 12 months when they first engaged with NESS and 11 per cent of those have found a job. Of people out of work for less than 12 months before receiving NESS support 23 per cent have found a job.
The project was match funded by seven partners from across the city – YMCA, TLC College, Bilston Resource Centre, Access to Business, Jobchange, TOPPS Training and Gloucester Street Community Centre, who all form the Wolverhampton Learning Platform.
They delivered a network of independent Community Learning Centres collaborating across the city to provide an integrated package of support.
The partners yesterday (Thursday) came together in the Mayor’s Parlour at Wolverhampton Civic Centre to celebrate their success.
Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “NESS has been recognised as a valuable resource to the city and has helped improve opportunities for people looking to develop new skills and also seek employment or volunteering opportunities.
“Many clients have a range of issues that may prevent them from securing employment. These can include a lack of confidence, low aspirations, poor self-esteem and the lack of basic skills they need to even get to the interview stage.
“The NESS project has proved to be effective in addressing these issues and its style of delivery has benefited many Wolverhampton residents and equipped them for the jobs market. Through the Wolverhampton Learning Platform, NESS has helped establish an effective delivery model whereby residents can access provision and receive a holistic package of support.”
The project was due to end in July 2014 but due to its success it received further ERDF funding and continued until December 2015.
The Wolverhampton Learning Platform continues to offer information, advice and guidance and training to support residents into work. They are currently in the process of formulating their strategy to help people in Wolverhampton and the wider Black Country area to achieve their career and learning aspirations. Part of this process is to expand their services and develop their holistic offer of support.
Image caption: Back row (L-R) – Stewart Towe of Black Country LEP, The Mayor, Cllr Ian Brookfield, Adam Jeffery of Chimera Consulting; Front row (L-R) – Elen Edwards of Topps Training, Mahmood Khan of TLC College, Dawn Bennett-Wilson of Jobchange, Adam Bhardwaj and Simon Bhardwaj of Bilston Resource Centre, Josie Kelly of Access To Business, and Marcia Williams of Gloucester Street Community Centre.