An expanded focus on inclusion

Routes To Work is proud to be continuing its work in recognition of the Scottish Government’s flagship initiative, No One Left Behind. For us, this means ensuring that our own mission to get our clients into the world of work also leaves no-one behind.

Since funding was made available via Local Authorities in July 2019, Routes To Work has worked closely with North Lanarkshire Council by focusing on groups facing challenging circumstances such as poor health, housing or homelessness related issues, and experience of the criminal justice system. These three focus points saw us place 103 North Lanarkshire residents into employment, changing their lives for the better.

The success of our work to date has led us to expand our service further, with specialist advisors targeting three new participant groups: the over-50s, young people aged 16-24 with mental health issues and the BME community. We are delighted to have already delivered strong results in these new areas in 2019/20.

‘Working Matters Progress’ to Change Lives

People with experience of the justice system face a particularly challenging time in their search for employment – something that the Working Matters Progress initiative has aimed to focus on in 2019/20 by providing a client centered approach through a range of holistic support, group work, 1:1 interventions, vocational and accredited training, to help clients of Routes To Work move closer to their goal of sustainable employment.

Despite the project being curtailed due to the impact of Covid-19, Routes To Work succeeded in engaging with 65 registered clients over a period of seven months with a number of support packages which included CV advice, skills and training, job matching, disclosure letters, interview preparation and guidance/advice.

After some training intervention, 18 clients received vocational awards ranging from IOSH, Forklift Counterbalance Training, Power Pallet Truck, Conflict Management & First Aid, CSCS, Train the Trainer, First Aid in Mental Health, Driver Class 2 and Flower Therapy.

In addition, we helped support nine clients into employment and positively changing their outlook and futures as a result.

Rebecca and Sharon, both single parents, faced an uphill struggle in managing their households and children, while each contended with a previous criminal conviction that they felt was a barrier to their progress.

Routes To Work Case Worker Julie-Anne Murphy sensed a real lack of self-esteem in each of them, but after proposing a few sessions of Flower Therapy with a larger group, they soon built up the confidence and positive frame of mind needed to explore the world of work.

Rebecca has since been awaiting news on an apprenticship, while Sharon has applied for volunteering work to support her transition into paid employment.

Sharon said: “I had great help and support from my Routes To Work coach in lots of areas that I needed it including overall improvements in my experience, knowledge and confidence in every aspect of employability, searching for work and education.

I couldn’t be any more grateful for the opportunities I’ve had since engaging with Routes To Work, and I would highly recommend this to anyone who seeks help in gaining greater employability skills and getting into work.”

“I had great help and support from my Routes To Work Case Worker in lots of areas that I needed it including overall improvements in my experience, knowledge and confidence in every aspect of employability, searching for work and education.”

Opening new doors in challenging circumstances

The over-50s face many challenges when seeking work. Many are often in work for up to 30 years before finding themselves without a CV and facing uncertainty around how they go about finding new employment. Others believe that their age is their main barrier and have lost confidence in getting back into employment.

Over the past year, Routes To Work has worked closely with more than 70 over-50s in just nine months – this has included evaluating their skillset’s, ensuring training was up to date, and helping with their job search. Since then, we have supported 27 clients to successfully find work and change their lives.

One such client was David Walker, who came to us wishing to get back into a tradesman’s role. Routes To Work supported David to complete several training modules to increase his skillset and confidence, as well as funding his toolkit recalibration, and he quickly secured a job – a very happy client.

The BME community has also benefited significantly from Routes To Work’s expansion into more client specialisms. Of 49 BME clients who engaged with us since July 2019, 100% completed an action plan with a fresh CV; 50% took part in focused training; and 25% have since found work for which three-quarters have sustained employment for over 6 months.

100%

completed an action plan with a fresh CV

50%

took part in focused training

25%

have since found work for which three-quarters have sustained employment for over 6 months

Sobya’s story

Sobya’s story is typical of a BME client from North Lanarkshire’s Muslim community. Sobya described her new job situation as “too blessed” after only a few days in the role.

“God bless you and Routes To Work for the lives you have changed,” she said. “I definitely wouldn’t be here without your continuous support and strong effort.”

“Routes to work helped me build my confidence while job searching and application. They helped be prepare for job interviews and made me feel a lot more prepared and at ease. Having there support made searching for a job easier and a lot less stressful”

Ahead of the Curve with our Young People

Routes To Work has a highly collaborative partnership with support agencies across North Lanarkshire, to ensure that young people with mental health issues are given the best chance they can in achieving a fulfilling life in employment.

One vital part of our work is the close working relationship with Jobcentre Plus, which allows us to take direct referrals for employment opportunities that could help our 16-24-year-old clients progress. Because of the mental health challenges this group often faces, Routes To Work is also in regular contact with NHS Scotland and many North Lanarkshire charities who can provide complementary support where necessary.

We exceeded our expectations in 2019/20 by supporting 48 young people towards a better future. This cohort of clients can struggle with areas of life that can be overlooked which can create isolation, health problems and confidence issues. We are proud to advise that 16 clients started work as a result of the continued support from Case Worker Jody, coupled with the determination of each individual, with a further four starting a Modern Apprenticeship.

3 young people went on to further or higher education, while 10 secured a qualification, including the REHIS food hygiene certificate which for many has been vital in enhancing their CV, keeping them in an existing job or even giving them some much-needed social contact.

An example of the battles that some of our young people can go through was a young girl aged 19 from North Lanarkshire. When she attended her first appointment with Jody our Young Persons Mental Health Worker, she disclosed that she was struggling with anxiety, body image, confidence and suffering with depression.

After creating an action plan together Jody offered her the opportunity to attend a 3-day Progression Routeway with our Trainer Alison and she felt this really helped move her forward. Her confidence grew over the weeks and months working alongside Jody and she started to secure interviews. Interview skills, coping strategies and an opportunity to secure a REHIS food hygiene certificate helped her believe in herself and she started attending interviews for childcare, her dream job. After a few attempts, she secured a position in a childcare role which she remains to this day.