£240,000 boost for jobs hunt

Senior employment councillor Gordon Donkin (right) with client Darren Carter at Job Linkage in Houghton Library.

Senior employment councillor Gordon Donkin (right) with client Darren Carter at Job Linkage in Houghton Library.

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JOB hunters have been given extra help – thanks to a £240,000 cash injection.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust has given the money to the Job Linkage Family Employment Initiative, which helps people to look for work, as well as overcome obstacles such as health or debt issues, or finding suitable childcare.

One man who has made use of the service is Darren Carter, who has attended Job Linkage in Houghton since February last year.

“I was a single parent and was looking about for work,” said the 45-year-old, from Shiney Row.

“First of all they made me an up-to-date CV, a hard copy and one on the computer because I didn’t have access to one.

“They told me about quite a few courses that I would not have heard about otherwise.”

Darren has gained several qualifications since he started working with Job Linkage Family Employment Initiative which has led to interviews.

“I’ve got qualifications in fork-lifting, first aid, food hygiene and since I’ve trained as a chef I’ve had a few interviews, about three or four.

“Looking for a job can be frustrating but they give me lots of help and support. They really care about it and want to help you find work.

“The counsellors get to know you and you generally see the same one each time so they know your situation.”

Gordon Donkin, a senior employment counsellor at Job Linkage in Houghton, is delighted with the £240,000 cash boost.

“The money will be used throughout the coalfields area,” he said.

“We are always pleased at anything that helps us maintain a presence because there is a real need for us in this area.”

Specialist employment advisors, such as Gordon, help jobseekers search for jobs, fill out application forms, prepare CV’s and covering letters, and practise interview techniques at delivery centres at the Hetton Centre and Houghton Job Linkage.

As well as practical job search support, advisors help clients access debt and finance advice, child care provision and health services such as drug and alcohol support.

Work-based training such as first aid, construction site safety and manual handling is also provided by the scheme.

Gordon added: “We work within the local community to help customers like lone parents or the long-time unemployed.

“We offer advice geared towards the individual to help them overcome boundaries that are stopping them getting back into work.

“We can also help with travel, getting bus passes so there is nothing holding our clients back.”

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