‘Join our club to get back on the job trail’

Herald Series: Val Smith Val Smith

A NEW job club to get people back into work is being launched on two Oxford estates.

Residents in Blackbird Leys and Littlemore will now have access to a Jobs advisor each week at their respective community centres.

The clubs was funded with around £23,000 from Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council is helping plan activities.

The clubs are set to open imminently and will be run by Leys Neighbourhood Partnership and Littlemore Community Association.

Judith Chen, who will organise the sessions, said: “We are talking to employers about work experience and training opportunities.

“We have people coming in to do IT, numeracy and literacy sessions and then we’ll have talks from people like recruitment agencies, offering practical sessions to offer hands-on experience.

“Then there will be all the usual things, like CV writing, interview techniques and how to fill out job applications.”

Official figures for August show there were 6,889 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Oxfordshire, and 2,377 people in Oxford.

Ms Chen added: “Both Littlemore and Blackbird Leys do have high levels of unemployment.

“I think that may be down to things like transport limitations so it’s important to show people what is going on in their area.

“There are jobs out there, so it’s just helping people apply for them.”

Oxford city and county councillor for Blackbird Leys Val Smith said: “I think it’s a good idea, especially for young people, or NEETs as they call them, because when you’re young you need all the help you can get with how to get a job and get yourself out there.

“I’m very happy that it’s happening.”

Oxford City Council is assisting in the planning of the club. Spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We are delighted that the Leys Neighbourhood Partnership and Littlemore Community Association have been successful in applying for funding for job clubs in their areas.

“The funding was awarded by the county council and will be used to put on events within those two communities.”

She added: “We are working with the partners involved and are still in the early stages of planning.”

Ms Chen will be based at the Littlemore Community Centre on Tuesdays and Blackbird Leys Community Centre on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

To talk to Ms Chen or organise a visit to the job club, email littlemorejobclub@gmail.com or leysjobclub@gmail.com You can also register interest at the Blackbird Leys Community Centre.

WE WANT TO WORK CAMPAIGN

THREE of our We Want To Work dozen have found jobs so far, thanks to the campaign by the Oxford Mail.

The 12 were seeking work through Government-funded organisation A4e when they were featured in the Oxford Mail in September.

The campaign gave them a chance to shout about their skills and experience to potential employers who were reading.

Last week, 21-year-old Jacob Ayres started a cleaning job, Monica Montanari started work at Sainsbury’s in Heyford Hill and Daniel Lawson-May has begun a job at British Gas.

We will be catching up with our jobseekers to see how the campaign made a difference to their lives.

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