New skills hub softens the blow of job centre closure in Sutton

The new skills and employment hub at Sutton Community Academy.
The new skills and employment hub at Sutton Community Academy.

A new skills and employment hub has been launched at Sutton Community Academy to help soften the blow of the closure of the town’s job centre.

The Academy Transformation Trust (ATT), which runs the High Pavement school, has launched the hub to ensure that people looking for a job can still access the further education courses and equipment they need.

Liz Barrett, principal of the further education arm at ATT, said: “We are keen to support the Sutton community in any way we can, and this will be a valuable addition.

“The hub demonstrates our core values to serve the identified needs of local people in places where our academies are located. The closure of the job centre is a big loss to the community.”

Sutton’s job centre, at Ashbrook House on Forest Street, has shut down and merged with a similar service at Ashfield District Council offices on Urban Road in Kirkby.

Concerns were raised by job-seekers, students and learners about the impact of the merger on their travel costs and the increased time they would need to spend searching for equipment. Therefore, in response, ATT invested in computers and printers, and developed training courses, to create the hub.

Jobseekers can become members of the hub to access PCs to look for work, use printers to get copies of CVs and information in preparation for interviews and also join drop-in-sessions for one-to-one guidance on employment.

They can learn too how to cope when the Universal Credit becomes a full digital service from August next year and claimants for all benefits, including jobskeers’ allowance and working tax credits, will have to make new claims online.

The hub was launched at an open day, attended by 70 people, many of whom signed up for courses there and then. Furher events have since been held, with ATT tutors answering questions on the new service and members of the public invited to drop in.

ATT’c commitment to the hub reinforces the strong links it has with local employers and organisations, which were commended in its latest Ofsted report in June. Anyone interested in joining the hub should ring Heather Bowerman on 01623 411310 (extension 5703) or e-mail her at