Scheme with 400 success stories

Left to right, Sue Fraser, Ron Atkinson, Bernie Whitaker and pupils Alexandra Brown and Adam Quinn, both nine.
Left to right, Sue Fraser, Ron Atkinson, Bernie Whitaker and pupils Alexandra Brown and Adam Quinn, both nine.
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SUNDERLAND’s Just the Job business support initiative has 400 reasons to celebrate.

The scheme was launched last January with the aim of helping 350 people go it alone before the end of March this year.

But it has already assisted its 400th business start-up, with Washington woman Sue Fraser enabled to set up as her own boss, providing IT support services to local primary schools.

Sue set up Primary IT Solutions in November after being made redundant from her role as a Teaching Assistant last summer.

The 50-year-old, who has spent more than 10 years working within the education sector, has got the company off to a flying start after receiving advice and support from Just the Job

The city-wide initiative from Sunderland City Council is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and is designed to help people get back into work or to set up their own business.

Sue’s business provides a range of services including after-school and lunchtime computing clubs, staff training in a variety of software programmes, as well as creating and updating websites for schools.

In just two months the business is already working with four primary schools across the Sunderland area including Sue’s previous employer Barmston Village Primary School, who have employed her to keep the school website up-to-date as well as other aspects of support, and Holley Park School in Washington where she has recently designed the new website.

“After being asked by my previous employer to set up and maintain the new school website, I found that I had a talent for this kind of work and really enjoyed it,” she said.

“When I heard I was being made redundant earlier last year I realised there was the potential to make a full-time job of it.”

Sue contacted SES (Sustainable Enterprise Strategies), part of the Just the Job network, in September where business adviser Ron Anderson was able to provide a wide range of support including developing a business plan, help with applying for a start up grant from the Working Neighbourhoods Fund, and advice on finances and the legalities of setting up a new enterprise.

“The support I had through Just the Job was just the kickstart I needed to put my plans into action,” said sue.

“As well as practical support, it also gave me the confidence to progress my idea.

“It’s a good feeling to be supported and have someone tell you that you have a workable idea, safe in the knowledge that you are being advised and supported all of the way.”

Coun Bryan Charlton is the city council’s Portfolio Holder for Prosperous City: “The launch of Primary IT Solutions, Just the Job’s 400th business start-up, is testament to the talent, ambition and fantastic support services that exist here in Sunderland,” he said.

“The fact we have exceeded project targets shows that since the launch of Just the Job, accessing support to set up in business or get back into work has never been more comprehensive.”

For more information visit www.justthejob.org or call 08081 789 380.