Council work experience scheme goes from strength to strength

Jan English, Work Experience Co-ordinator at Horsham District Council, with four young people who have recently been working at the Council on its Work Experience programme - picture submitted
Jan English, Work Experience Co-ordinator at Horsham District Council, with four young people who have recently been working at the Council on its Work Experience programme - picture submitted
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Horsham District Council is continuing to help young people in the Horsham District by helping them gain valuable employability skills through its Work Experience programme.

The Work Experience scheme is part of the Government’s Youth Contract, which operates under the ‘Get Britain Working’ banner.

Following a successful first year, Horsham District Council continues to offer 18 to 24 year olds claiming Jobseekers Allowance meaningful and valid work experience in various departments.

Over the first year, 33 young people took up voluntary placements within the council and these have lasted between two and eight weeks.

In partnership with Horsham Job Centre Plus, the council has provided projects and mentoring to ensure the young people are prepared for future employment.

Many have left university and college without ever having a job and have been trapped in the ‘no experience’, ‘no employment’ cycle.

Almost half of the participants of the scheme have since found paid employment outside of the Council as a result of renewed confidence and improved workplace skills and after being provided with a reference.

James Ridler, an aspiring journalist and games reviewer, who is currently on a placement with Horsham District Council, said: “My work experience with Horsham District Council has revitalised my passion for work and expanded my skill set.

“Being able to get out of the house and make good use of my time really gave me the drive to look for work after spending a long time signing on.”

Another young person, Nick Scott, who recently undertook a work experience placement at the council, said: “The Journey to Work programme, I think, is really good as it has helped me get a job which suited what I wanted to do and it was very easy to get eight weeks of work experience which turned into a job by the end of it.

“My confidence has improved a lot as I am working at primary schools as well as old people’s homes where I need to be confident to help people in sport.

“During my placement, I have achieved my Grand National Archery Society qualification, which has enabled me to work at Southwater Leisure Centre twice a month teaching archery.

“I have gained a qualification in Emergency First Aid at Work and Tag Rugby training so I now teach at a primary school every Thursday after school, as well as a Level 1 Cycle Leader on road and off road.”

Shane is also on a work experience placement and said: “I think the programme is a great idea as it is very difficult to find work out there, the scheme helps keep you active and will help with future employment.

“It is very easy to join and I would recommend young people to do this scheme to help with confidence and an insight into what goes into coaching sports to youngsters.”

Councillor Roger Paterson, Horsham District Council’s Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, said: “Youth unemployment is one of the most difficult issues currently facing local and national economies and Horsham District Council is determined to do everything it can to help improve job opportunities for young residents.

“This is why I am so pleased with the success of the work experience scheme, which the council is running with Job Centre Plus, as part of the Get Britain Working campaign, which proves providing young people with meaningful work experience really works.”

Horsham District Council is not only supporting the national campaign itself but has been encouraging local businesses and other organisations from the District to join them and Jobcentre Plus in partnership, providing further placements in a variety of interesting areas of work.

So far the Council has attracted 14 partners that have provided similar work experience opportunities for 23 young people. These include DC Leisure (which manages four of the Council’s leisure centres), Assurity Consulting, Damovo, Southwater Parish Council, Saxon Weald and many others.

The council would be happy to hear from any other businesses willing to take on young people for work experience.

For more information on the scheme please contact Jan English, Work Experience Co-Ordinator, by calling 01403 215262 or email jan.english@horsham.gov.uk