Image demonstrating Employment initiative provides welcome boost for  tenants 

Employment initiative provides welcome boost for tenants 

An innovative partnership between local authorities, housing associations and learning providers is providing essential support to housing tenants in Northumberland to help boost their employability skills. 
The North of Tyne Working Homes Project provides support to housing tenants to help them move closer or into work and breaking down multiple barriers such as childcare, financial and qualifications to increase their confidence and skills set. 
Tenants benefit from a range of support including formal and informal learning, skills development, job preparation and helping to manage tenancies. As well as finding work, tenants can build their resilience and gain the skills to maintain successful tenancies. 
The project, a collaboration between seven organisations in the North of Tyne area, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund, launched in April 2019 and over 700 people have already benefitted from this valuable service. 
The support is a welcome boost, particularly in this current climate. Despite restrictions around social distancing and changes in service, where face-to-face contact is limited, the project is still very much supporting local people. 
One of Northumberland County Council tenants, Nicole Wilson, 28, from Blyth registered onto the project in September 201. She hadn't worked for nearly three years due to raising her children and had lost a little confidence due to the lack of adult conversation and not being able to keep her skills fresh.  
Employment Liaison Officer, Joanne Berresford said: “We first worked on Nicole’s C.V. which not only reminded her of the skills she had, but that she was still using some of them in everyday life.  
“Once Nicole started to gain confidence in her abilities, we started to look at a change in career direction and Nicole felt hairdressing was something she would love to do and matched with her personality; it was the perfect choice.  
“We looked into childcare and education options for her and applied for a bursary to aid her with costs, which we were successful with. Nicole began her hairdressing course in September 2020 and is really enjoying it.” 
Nicole said:  "I have gained so much confidence since starting college. I feel like I can achieve things if I set my mind to it, but I wouldn't have gained this confidence if I hadn't been on this programme." 
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for Community Services said: “This is proving to be a great service and we are proud to be able to offer vital opportunities towards improving education and employment options for our tenants. We have seen an increase in reliance upon this service from our tenants as the uncertainty around employment continues to increase. Having this project is invaluable, enabling us, as a landlord, to further extend much needed support."  
In addition to Northumberland County Council,  six other organisations are involved in delivering the project: Bernicia Homes, Newcastle Futures Limited, North Tyneside Housing, Northern Learning Trust, Karbon Homes and Your Homes Newcastle. 
The North of Tyne Working Homes project is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural Investment Funds Programme. 
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