A new service in Mansfield and Ashfield, designed to find jobs, especially for the vulnerable, and to support employers, has been hailed a huge success.
Portland Pathways was launched by Portland College in Mansfield at the end of January, and has already given positive help to more than 110 people who had been struggling to obtain work.
“So far, the scheme has surpassed all targets, and it is still growing,” said a spokeswoman for the college. “It is a project that the college is very proud of.”
Portland Pathways is an innovative programme open to all local people and businesses, offering free guidance and training. The aim is to help people overcome barriers to progress that might be affecting their careers or personal lives. Its three pathways are:
PREPARING FOR WORK -- helping people search and apply for work, create a CV and prepare for interview, and also assessing their needs.
SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS -- helping businesses find the right person for the right job, advising them of the benefits of employing someone with a disability and promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.
RECOVERY COLLEGE -- providing a range of short courses for people with mental-health difficulties and boosting their confidence as they pursue their careers.
So far, Portland Pathways has found paid employment for a dozen people and started a further 47 on Recovery College courses, including 31-year-old Stuart Cain, who was referred by Mansfield Job Centre.
Stuart didn’t even feel confident or comfortable enough to go to an initial meeting, but says the course has helped him “massively”, and he’s looking forward to going back to work soon. “I now feel able to achieve goals without anything holding me back,” he said. “I feel so happy thinking about the future.”
Employment engagement adviser Cheryl Levers said: “We aim to provide an atmosphere where people can be open, honest and feel safe. Our ethos is to focus on what they can realistically achieve and provide them with the tools to overcome barriers and feel more confident.”