Working back into employment

Release Date: 22 August 2016

D&A College staff have been working hard to ensure that long-term unemployed people can have the chance to do the same.

supporting employability article
Principal Grant Ritchie with Robert Anderson.

The Supporting Employability Programme, run in conjunction with Dundee City Council, is aimed at long-term unemployed people and uses a range of techniques to help them turn their lives around.

The four-week course, supported by Jobcentre Plus, helps people with a range of issues which contribute to unemployment including mental health problems or addiction.

While the programme goal is to get people into work, for many the course and subsequent mentoring is a first step – as participant Robert Anderson (49) points out:

“Before the course I had given up hope of finding work, all the factories and industries were gone, I became stuck in the belief that I was too old and been out of work too long  while caring for my elderly father,” said the Dundee resident.

“The course help us examine these beliefs and I discovered that there are many opportunities for older people, stopped blaming the system and finding excuses and began to look for how I could influence my circumstances.”

Despite being unemployed for five years Robert is now optimistic about his future.

“Since taking part in the programme I completed two security courses and, using the marketing methods I learned, I am now getting responses and job interviews.

“I feel really confident in myself and think I should be working pretty soon.”    

To recognise the achievements of those who have taken part, college staff organised an informal event at The Space at Kingsway Campus, on Wednesday, August 24, when 17 participants were presented with certificates.

Among those speaking at the event were D&A College Principal Grant Ritchie and David Martin, CEO Dundee City Council.

“Long-term unemployment robs people of their self-belief, their self-esteem, their futures,” said Jim McEvoy, who tutors the programme.

“Slipping through the employment net into the world of long-term welfare benefits and social and work isolation can be easier than you think,  some of the candidates on our latest course have degrees, but still lack the knowledge of how best to market their skills – we can certainly help with that.”

The programme aims to do much more however, using cognitive behavioural strategies to install self-confidence and effect a change in mind-set.

While four candidates have already found work and many more are reaching a point where they feel ready to move on, Jim feels there is more to the project.

“We’re not expecting candidates to leap into a job immediately – a lot of what we do is about encouraging people to take control of their own destiny and be responsible for their own achievements.”