WEA Eastern Region partners with Community Connections to help people back into work

WEA’s Eastern Region is involved in an exciting two-and-a-half year project with Community Connections (South), 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.

The Project launched in the Greater Cambridgeshire, Greater Peterborough LEP area in Autumn 2016, and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, with funding of £970,000 awarded.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (April 2018) show that the number of people currently unemployed in the UK stands at 1.42 million people. A further 8.73 million people are classed as economically inactive, and these are the people most likely to struggle with finding long-term employment.

Helping people to take the first steps

The Community Connections (South) Project supports 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 mental health conditions, migrants and those with low educational achievement. Many people in this group struggle with the fundamental skills they need to start looking for and applying for work, such as knowing what their skills are, having the confidence to apply and interview for roles, and understanding what employers are looking for. The WEA has lots of experience in equipping people with these skills, so we are perfectly placed to support this project with Community Connections (South).

Led by the Papworth Trust

Leading disability charity, Papworth Trust, is leading the partnership, and delivered with the  assistance of experienced and trusted local partners who can assist people back into employment. These include:

  • Papworth Trust
  • Cambridgeshire County Council Adult Learning and Skills Team
  • Camtrust
  • CHS
  • Groundwork East
  • New Meaning Foundation
  • Reboot CIC
  • Cambridge Community Arts
  • Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum
  • Switch Now

Overcoming barriers to increase employability

The project aims to improve employability, increase independence and confidence, and reduce social isolation for people with additional support needs.
Research has shown that the barriers many people face when looking for work include; finding the application process difficult, zero hours contracts, age, disabilities, and the cost of looking for work.  The project is designed to help people overcome these barriers by supporting each individual, building their confidence, improving their skill set, helping to build trust with employers, and assisting them to applying for suitable roles.

Delivered in county-wide community settings

The project will be delivered across the county in accessible community settings, in Huntingdonshire, City and South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire. The different partners involved in the project will help people progress back into employment through informal community learning, structured and accredited learning opportunities, vocational training, coaching, counselling and employment programmes.

Partner with us

The WEA will be focusing its delivery in Cambridgeshire. If you would like to find out more, or discuss how you can work in partnership with us, please contact us: eastern@wea.org.uk.