Located in the former Neighbourhood Food Larder unit on Bridge Street, the Ways to Work centre will see experienced St Helens Borough Council staff – part of the Liverpool City Region’s flagship European Social Funded Ways to Work programme – collaborate with Career Connect, Jobcentre Plus, Torus and a host of other local partner organisations to offer a one-stop shop service to support local people into employment, education or training through mentoring, coaching, advice and guidance, and job searching.
Made possible by Liverpool City Region Town Centre Funding to help local businesses and the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the Ways to Work centre follows on from the successful launch of a St Helens Town Centre branch last summer, providing drop-in employment advice, including CV writing tips and interview preparation, as well as access to a number of paid work experience roles and full or part-time vacancies – some being immediate start positions.
The centre was officially opened last Friday (11 March) by St Helens North MP, Conor McGinn, and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.
Since launching in 2016, the St Helens Ways to Work programme has helped more than 1,300 people into employment, training, and education – with more than 300 of those coming during the coronavirus pandemic.
In January this year, the service received a boost after £1.9m in funding was secured for the continuation of the programme as part of a £4m package to deliver a number of ambitious projects to support residents from all different backgrounds into employment and training opportunities.
Commenting at the opening event, Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, said: “We recognise the challenges some residents face when it comes to looking for work or training programmes – that’s why it’s important that services are accessible to those in need of our support – and the new Ways to Work centre here in Earlestown will do just that.
“We’re incredibly proud of the direct positive impact that employment and training initiatives like Ways to Work have had in assisting residents to find work, and with a significant amount of funding recently secured to deliver projects around supporting residents into work or training, I would encourage anyone looking for these opportunities to contact us and take the first step to an exciting and successful future.”
Conor McGinn MP for St Helens North said: “Locally and across our city region, we are fiercely ambitious for our people, and we’re driving ahead with our work to ensure that everybody can access the skills, education and training needed to take advantage of the jobs and opportunities being created in St Helens Borough.
“Locally-designed and regionally-supported, the new Ways to Work centre in Earlestown represents a key part of that work and our mission.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Most of my life, I’ve been working to improve the skills and employment prospects of people living right across our region. Since I was elected, I’ve made it a key priority. From our successful Households into Work programme to the Young Person’s Guarantee, we have been pioneering new initiatives that are drastically improving local people’s life chances.
“We are investing an extra £4m across St Helens to help schemes like Ways to Work to continue that good work. By working closely with St Helens Council, local businesses and service users themselves, we’re able to provide a much more tailored service that gives people the support they need to get into work. It’s about making sure no one is left behind.”
The Ways to Work centre will be open for drop-ins Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.