Free work at council pays off for volunteers

James Hurst (far left) and David George (second from right) with other volunteers and HDC officer Leigh Chambers (centre)
James Hurst (far left) and David George (second from right) with other volunteers and HDC officer Leigh Chambers (centre)

The Government’s voluntary work experience scheme has paid off for several young people temporarily working at Horsham District Council.

The national scheme, run by JobCentrePlus, hit the headlines in February when some High Street names were accused of using it as a way to get free labour, for more than half of the 23 young people who worked at the council, it has resulted in employment.

David George, 23, from Storrington, who worked in stategic planning, found a job with Lloyds TSB.

He said: “The programme was very rewarding and within my final week at HDC, I received two very good job offers. I think that the eight week work experience gave me a huge amount of confidence and desire to go out and secure a job, knowing that I had a lot to offer a prospective employer.”

James Hurst, 22, who has found a job at Gatwick Airport, said: “It’s just what I was looking for as an interim job before going back to university. The excellent reference I got from staff at the council was important, I think, in getting that job, so the scheme certainly helped.

“And of course the work experience is very beneficial in beefing up my CV and giving me something positive to build on in interviews.”

Cabinet member for the local economy Roger Paterson said: “Youth unemployment is one of the most difficult issues currently facing local and national economies and HDC is determined to do everything it can to help improve job opportunities for young residents.

“This is why I’m so pleased with the success of the work experience scheme, which the council is running with Horsham Jobcentre Plus, as part of the Get Britain Working support. HDC has so far supported 23 young people and nearly half of those are now in employment as a result of the scheme - a fact which proves providing young people with meaningful work experience really works.”

For more information on the work experience scheme, call HDC’s work expereince co-ordinator Jan English on 01403 215262 or email