From education to employment

New service piloted in three London boroughs

A new service promises to improve existing skills by giving Londoners access to advice on housing, employment rights, childcare, finance and personal issues.

The skills advice is aimed at anyone, from those in good jobs wanting to improve to those in need of new skills to further their job opportunities.

Southwark, Lambeth and Wandsworth will experience the first of two pilots being carried out this year.

The first pilot will build on existing careers services to provide a range of guidance and support, ensuring anyone has the opportunity to realise their full potential.

The second pilot has been developed in partnership with the Mayor and is specifically focused at individuals who are in a job but want to develop their skills, take more responsibility and earn higher wages.

Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham said: “Getting from a job with few prospects to a good job can be as tough as getting off benefit and into work. People who want to get on need support improving their skills and, often, sorting our childcare, tax credit, housing and other issues. The new joined- up approach to providing advice and support is crucial to overcoming these barriers.”

A key element of the new service is a “no wrong door” approach to ensure anyone can gain easy access to a whole range of advisory services and quickly get the help they need.

The pilots will test the scope of advisory services to be included, ways of working across partners, in particular integrating voluntary and community services and also sources of funding.

“We want everyone at work to raise their skills, enabling them to build successful careers in a constantly changing global economy. The new advancement and careers service will provide the practical support that Londoners need to share in the prosperity of this dynamic city.” John Denham added.

Currently every adult in England can access the national Learn Direct telephone and online service and local nextstep face-to-face service.

The advancement service will be fully operational across England from 2010/11.

Sheila Kjaerhus

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