More than 50 people have started jobs in industries or sectors that are new to them, after receiving support to reskill in four localities across the UK as part of Learning and Work Institute’s (L&W) New Futures programme. Local partnerships in Belfast, Edinburgh, Wales and Tees Valley are providing training and support to give people a chance to change career, while meeting skills demand in their local labour markets.
In Tees Valley, career coaches working on behalf of Tees Valley Combined Authority are supporting people to access training, helping them with costs such as paying for professional equipment and offering on-going coaching to get a new job. Working in partnership with local voluntary and community sector organisations has been key to the pilot’s success.
Paul from Tees Valley lost his job during the pandemic and had since been working on and off as a labourer. He was referred to New Futures via the Jobcentre, wanting to move into the asbestos industry. New Futures funded the New Operatives course, as well as the masks that are needed to carry out asbestos work. After completing the course, Paul went straight into work via an agency, and the employer will be taking him on permanently. Career coaches will continue to provide monthly telephone contact to ensure Paul is sustaining employment.
In Belfast, New Futures is responding to the local need of skills shortages in the city’s growing tech industry. Belfast City Council has created a non-traditional pathway into digital and tech roles by setting up an academy, providing training for people who have no previous tech experience or formal qualifications. The training comes with wraparound support and guaranteed job interviews.
Josh Murray is a recent graduate of the Belfast tech academy. He had no experience of coding or scripting before starting the academy. Josh had worked in various jobs in hospitality and plumbing, but he was unsatisfied and due to Covid, he was unemployed for several months. He had always wanted to work in the tech industry but believed his lack of experience and qualifications were a barrier. The academy gave Josh the opportunity to train to become a Test Engineer, which resulted in a job working for Allstate and the start of a new career he didn’t believe possible.
New Futures is responding to local need in each part of the UK. The four pilots are not only benefitting career changers in finding rewarding, sustainable work, they are also benefitting employers in gaining newly skilled workers.
Emily Jones, deputy director at Learning and Work Institute said:
“The economic impacts of the pandemic haven’t been equally distributed, with differences by geography, sector and demographic groups – exacerbating inequalities that pre-date the pandemic. Some employers have found it hard to recruit despite record numbers of vacancies. Many people will need employment support and to retrain into different careers to ensure they can make the most of the opportunities ahead.
“We’re proud to be working with our partners across the UK to test locally-led solutions to the reskilling challenge. It’s fantastic to see that New Futures, supported by the Covid-19 Support Fund, is making a difference to people’s lives and that the first 50 people now have new jobs. Through our partnerships and evaluation, we are learning lessons from the pilots, which can be applied to policy and practice more widely.”