Six islanders, who had been out of work or claiming Income Support for at least six months, have found full-time employment after going through a Government-run scheme.
Run by Customer and Local Services, the Foundations Through Back to Work programme provides people with experience of work and improves their general employability in areas such as attendance, positive attitude, teamwork, and motivation to work.
It offers people paid work or projects with the long term aim of getting them back into paid employment. Some of the people it supports, referred by the Jersey Employment Trust, have more complex needs.
It also provides opportunities, support and close supervision to help people overcome significant barriers to work. It is not a full-time placement, but those on the scheme get paid the minimum wage for working between 12 and 32 hours per week.
Pictured: One of the projects recently undertaken was in partnership with the Silkworth Charity.
Between January and July, 42 individuals took up placements on the Foundations scheme while six islanders went on to full-time employment.
One of the projects recently undertaken was in partnership with the Silkworth Charity, which offers residential rehabilitation for men and women who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction.
The programme provided a team to redecorate two of the charity's homes as well as its shop in St. Helier under the supervision of Paul Mash and Cyril Vibert.
“We aim to teach the basic skills and provide a good standard of work for the charities who give us projects," Mr Vibert explained. "People who have been out of work for some time often have social or confidence issues and that is the first hurdle we have to overcome.
“But they take pride from the projects we undertake. From the starting point where these people are unemployable to firms wanting to offer them a job, when I hear that one of the guys has been offered a full-time post it is just so fulfilling.”
Jason Wyse, Chief Executive Officer of the Silkworth Charity Group, commented: “We have recently benefited from the labour support provided through the Foundations Programme under the stewardship of Paul and Cyril.
“I would like to express my gratitude not only for the availability of the Foundations Programme, but importantly, to the individuals that have been part of the scheme. The work that was completed for us at both our West Park and Don Street properties was carried out to a first-class standard that would have cost the charity thousands if employing professional painters and decorators.”
Steve McSherry, who has benefit from the scheme, added: “It is good to be out doing things, a reason to get up in the mornings. It has helped me get out and about. I do enjoy this, and the team look after me and I’ve learnt a bit as well.”
For Deputy Elaine Millar, the Minister for Social Security the Foundations programme meets a number of "important criteria" for the island.
"As well as supporting people to improve their mental wellbeing and confidence, they can learn new skills," she said. "The programme also supports the charity sector, and helps people back into work, which contributes towards meeting the skills gap on the island.
“I thoroughly support the programme and am immensely proud of the people who manage and organise it, and, of course, those Islanders who benefit from being on it.”
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