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College opens youth employment scheme to all ages made redundant in Covid-19 pandemic

PUBLISHED: 19:00 18 November 2020

The launch of the One Step Closer programme at West Suffolk College in 2019, to help 16-24s into apprenticeships, employment or additional education. Picture: DANNY HEWITT

The launch of the One Step Closer programme at West Suffolk College in 2019, to help 16-24s into apprenticeships, employment or additional education. Picture: DANNY HEWITT

Danny Hewitt

A West Suffolk employment scheme which has helped hundreds of young adults into work is to extend its programme to all ages who have lost employment as a result of Covid-19.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said extending the One Step Closer scheme to all ages would help those made redundant during the Covid-19 fallout. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIWest Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said extending the One Step Closer scheme to all ages would help those made redundant during the Covid-19 fallout. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The One Step Closer scheme run by West Suffolk College has mentored more than 500 people aged 16-24 into work, apprenticeships or further education since the pandemic hit in March.

Now, college bosses have confirmed it is being extended to people of all ages who are looking for a job, education or training as a result of unemployment from Covid-19.

MORE: 20,000 redundancies anticipated for Suffolk in Covid-19 fallout

Laraine Moody, vice-principal for employer engagement at the college, said: “We have seen the incredible impact that the youth employment schemes have had and we believe that they will go from strength to strength now that we are able to extend our offer at a time when so many people need that extra support.”

Ms Moody added that it would “make a real difference to people of this region”.

West Suffolk College has been commissioned by West Suffolk Council for the One Step Closer scheme. Picture: DANNY HEWITTWest Suffolk College has been commissioned by West Suffolk Council for the One Step Closer scheme. Picture: DANNY HEWITT

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The One Step Closer scheme was commissioned in 2019 by West Suffolk Council, and supported by funding from that authority alongside Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Public Sector Leaders.

At the start of 2020, Babergh District Council and the county council built on the project with a new scheme for those in the Babergh district.

The schemes feature dedicated ‘talent coaches’ who mentor 16-24s through their applications and measures needed to achieve their career goals.

Laraine Moody from West Suffolk College said the One Step Closer scheme had helped young adults begin their careers. Picture: DAVID GARRADLaraine Moody from West Suffolk College said the One Step Closer scheme had helped young adults begin their careers. Picture: DAVID GARRAD

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said: “The pandemic has sadly meant that many people of all ages have lost or are at risk of losing their job, and that can be a devastating, confidence-crushing experience.

“Prior to Covid-19, One Step Closer was doing exactly what we commissioned it to do and was making great strides helping young people toward the start of their careers, co-ordinating with employers to help meet the skills needs of local businesses.

MORE: Latest Covid-19 redundancy data

“While our priority remains helping young people toward the start of young people toward the start of their careers, the talent coaches will now also be helping people of all ages with training or education, rebuilding their confidence and self-esteem, all towards their end goal of gaining new employment opportunities.”

Anyone looking for support through the scheme can contact the college here or visit the college website to find out more.


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