WEA Eastern partners Community Connections in Cambridgeshire

Community Connections arrives in Cambridgeshire to help people get a job

The Eastern WEA are involved in an exciting new project to help those furthest from work back into employment. The Project launches in Cambridgeshire in late autumn 2016.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that unemployment has fallen by 0.7% in the last year. However, the remaining 1.64 million unemployed are the most likely to find it particularly difficult to secure sustainable employment.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund (ESF) (funding of £970,000 awarded), Community Connections (South) Project is a partnership designed to improve employment opportunities for people who are furthest from the job market and who aren’t on any existing employment programmes.

Some people find it particularly difficult to take steps to help them find the right job. What some of us may take for granted such as, knowing what our skills are, having the confidence to apply and interview for roles, listening to guidance and support to help us understand what employers are looking for, does not come easy to some. The WEA are perfectly placed to support this project due our significant experience of working within this area.

The Community Connections (South) Project is here to support the long term unemployed, or those who’ve never worked before, including; disabled  people, carers, lone parents, ex-offenders, homeless or those not in secure housing, those with long-term health conditions, migrants and those with low educational achievement.

The partnership is being led by leading disability charity Papworth Trust and is ideally placed to provide support in the community, resulting in improved employability, greater independence and confidence and a reduction in social isolation for people with additional support needs.

Research has shown that barriers faced include; finding the application process difficult, zero hour contracts, age, disabilities and the cost of looking for work. This Project is designed to help individuals overcome these barriers, supporting each individual, building their confidence, improving their skill set and helping to build up trust with employers, assisting where necessary with applying for suitable roles.

The partnership of experienced and trusted local partners who will assist people back into employment includes:

  • Papworth Trust (project lead)
  • Cambridgeshire County Council Adult Learning and Skills Team
  • Camtrust
  • CHS
  • GAP Learning CIC
  • GET Group
  • Groundwork
  • Illuminate Charity
  • New Meaning Foundation
  • Realife Trust
  • Reboot CIC
  • Workers' Educational Association.

Services are to be delivered across the county in accessible community settings, including; Haverhill, Cambridge City (Arbury, Abbey, East Chesterton and King’s Hedges), St Neots, and Huntingdon (North and East), however, other areas will be considered subject to demand.

Partners will provide services to help people progress towards employment, with informal community learning, structured and accredited learning opportunities, vocational training, coaching and counselling and employment programmes.

The WEA will be focusing delivery in Haverhill. If you’d like to find out more, or discuss how you can work in partnership with us please contact Jane Hurst jhurst@wea.org.uk or eastern@wea.org.uk

If you’d like further information about the Community Connections (South) Project, please contact Una Davis on 01733 314747 or email una.davis@papworthtrust.org.uk.