Academy's team ready with support as jobless crisis deepens

3rd June 2020

Specialists at a leading Sheffield City Region training academy are poised to help an anticipated deluge of people losing jobs in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sheffield charity The Source Skills Academy is already working with people made redundant in the first few weeks of lockdown and expects many more as companies let furloughed staff go.

According to figures just released by the Office for National Statistics, Barnsley and Doncaster have already seen the UK’s highest increases in unemployment benefits claims between March and April.

In a table of the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns, Doncaster is sixth, with a 2.6 per cent increase, and Barnsley is seventh with 2.5 per cent.

Sheffield was placed 33rd.

“We anticipate a huge surge in unemployment as our region’s businesses and manufacturers go back to work and have to confront the reality of the economic damage they have suffered,” said Tricia Smith, CEO of The Source.

“Workers losing jobs will be shocked, worried about money and afraid they are never going to be employed again. But our specialist teams, who have got hundreds of unemployed people back into work in recent years, are ready to help.”

Helen Lee, who runs the academy’s Steps To Work programme, explained:“Losing your livelihood has huge emotional consequences. Part of your identity has gone, along with your daily routine and your confidence.

“Getting these back is not easy, particularly if you have worked long-term in one role and fear there is no other job you can do.”

Helen and her Community and Employability Team help a range of unemployed into work - from school-leavers to long-term jobless - by up-skilling, rebuilding confidence and keeping spirits positive.

The Source’s Steps To Work programme exists for jobless people who are not in education or training.

Help starts with one-to-one support and confidence-building, now done by phone and online due to Covid-19 guidelines.

Skills in areas such as English, maths and ICT, CV-writing and interview techniques are boosted.

Clients can also study for work-based qualifications online with supportive tutors in 26 subjects, from Health and Safety, Customer Service Skills to Business Admin, Payroll and Accountancy.

“Then we hunt for jobs and help candidates through the application process,” said Helen. “We look for jobs to match their skills, but also prepare those who need to change direction.

“We expect the hospitality sector, probably the last to re-open, could see the biggest job losses.

“Catering and kitchen staff could look at food prep roles in care homes and hospitals. Front of house workers can transfer their customer service skills to retail and call centre roles.”

Apprenticeships, which are for people of all ages and levels of experience, are another route open to people losing jobs in the crisis. They enable people to work while training in a new career.

People wanting help can email community@thesourceacademy.co.uk

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