The long road back to work
7 September 2016
“Jim has taught me that my life is so much more than I perceived it to be! If it wasn’t for this class I would definitely still be twisted and turned by whatever is going on in my head,” Steven Bell.
It doesn’t matter if you have a fistful of qualifications or you skipped school and ducked out of education early. Slipping through the employment net into the world of long term welfare benefits and social and work isolation can be easier than you think. For some it can be one wrong turning and before they know it they’ve lost confidence, lost control and lost the motivation to do anything about it.
As a tutor within Dundee and Angus College’s Employability Development Team, Jim McEvoy has seen it all. But far from giving up on this hard to reach sector of society, Jim and his colleague Derek Gallacher have worked in close partnership with Dundee City Council’s Discover Opportunities to fashion a new approach to reengaging with this disaffected group of people. Jobcentre Plus also supported the venture.
“So many of these people have a huge amount to give, but what long term unemployment does is rob you of your self-belief. Some of the candidates on our latest course have degrees, but still lack the knowledge of how best to market their skills. That’s where we come in.”
The four week course which Jim and his partners have initiated involves more than just exhorting the candidates to get some discipline in their lives. Using cognitive behavioural strategies to install self- confidence, the group are encouraged to research the job market and target which opportunities best relate to their own skill set.
“We’re not expecting them to leap into a job immediately. A lot of what we do is about encouraging the candidates to take control of their own destiny and be responsible for their own achievements. What amazes me is just how remarkably successful this particular four week course has been.”
Carol McKelvie of DCC’s Discover Opportunities agrees, “What has impressed me, is the change in the individuals who have attended this course. Seeing how motivated, confident and positive our clients have become has been amazing. This course is beneficial to anyone who needs a push in the right direction by empowering and enabling our clients towards a successful and positive destination.
“The collaboration between Dundee City Council and Dundee and Angus College on this innovative new project has proved extremely beneficial and proves that Partnership working between the two organisations helped to make this a successful pilot project.
“Jim has a very positive attitude and an incredible awareness and understanding of the various issues facing our clients and we hope that this Project will lead the way in a different approach towards helping people back into the world of work.”
And the support doesn’t end there. Jim is on hand to give mentoring support for the next three months. In fact so successful has the course been, three candidates have already found work and many more are reaching a point where they feel ready to move on. This is clearly a template that is producing results and is giving hope to a group of unemployed people for whom work is a long distant memory.
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