Employment scheme to help disadvantaged awarded

 (L-R) Dr Julie Nugent, WMCA Director of Productivity and Skills, Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for Productivity and Skills and Anne-Louise Rapson, Employment Advisor, Advance Housing, Support & Employment

A scheme to help dozens of disadvantaged and long-term job seekers in north Solihull get into work has been given the go-ahead.

The Employment Support Pilot will give people in Chelmsley Wood tailored job advice and specialist support in the heart of their own community.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has awarded Advance Housing a £378,874 contract to set up and deliver the three year scheme starting this summer.

The Chelmsley Wood pilot is one of nine being set up in communities across the wider West Midlands where unemployment is high and levels of pay low.

The scheme, which is being funded by the WMCA using a £4 million Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) grant, will also help equip low paid workers with the skills needed to land better jobs.

Cllr George Duggins, the WMCA’s portfolio holder for Productivity and Skills, said: “There are record numbers of jobs being created in the West Midlands but some people are still missing out.

“So I’m pleased to have Advance Housing and Support on board and together help make sure that everyone in society has the chance to benefit from the job opportunities out there.”

The Chelmsley Wood scheme along with the eight others across the region will help up to 4,500 people find work, with an emphasis on supporting people in to better paid jobs.

There will be a particular focus on young people, disabled people and other vulnerable groups.

The schemes are part of the wider transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands following the region’s decision to form a combined authority, led by an elected mayor.

Jagdeep Soor, Head of Employment & Skills at Advance Housing and Support said: “We are incredibly proud to have been appointed by WMCA to deliver the Employment & Support Pilot in Chelmsley Wood. We have a long history of delivering positive outcomes for our customers in the West Midlands and look forward to working with our partner network, employers and community groups to help more people find work and also support people into better jobs.” 

The location-based support is aimed at making it easier to engage with local residents and to encourage the communities themselves to use their existing social networks to help spread the word about the opportunities and support available.

Evidence suggests that neighbours, extended family members and others in the local community can be an effective channel for getting information to the right people.

The other eight schemes are in:
• Birchills Leamore, Walsall
• Binley and Willenhall, Coventry
• Glascote, Tamworth
• Shard End, Birmingham
• Washwood Heath, Birmingham
• Batchley and Brockhill, Redditch
• Camp Hill, Nuneaton and Bedworth
• Cannock North