Isle of Wight housing associations team up for new employment initiative

Sovereign and Southern Housing Group's 'Skills 4 Work' project aims to help 100 Isle of Wight residents get back into work.
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Skills 4 Work aims to help up to 100 Isle of Wight residents get back into work. Credit: Pixabay

The Isle of Wight’s two largest housing associations have launched a new employment programme to help islanders find employment following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The programme, ‘Skills 4 Work’, launched by Sovereign Housing Association and Southern Housing Group, aims to support islanders with their job hunt and develop their CV writing and interview skills.

It is hoped that the programme will help up to 100 Isle of Wight residents with complex barriers to employment get back into work.

The programme will provide residents with vital support at a time when COVID-19 has impacted employment on the Isle of Wight.

Erica Watts, Sovereign’s head of employment and training, said: “We have a proven track record of providing employment and skills programmes to our residents.

“We’re delighted to be working with Southern Housing Group to help local residents take the next steps to fulfil their career aspirations.”

Participants in the Skills 4 Work programme will get one-to-one advice, guidance and support from employment and training officers.

Residents will also be supported to become digitally independent with a growing number of people working from home via the Internet.

The programme is timely as the number of people without work on the Isle of Wight rose by 43% year-on-year from November 2019 to November 2020.

The Skills 4 Work project is being run by Sovereign in partnership with Southern Housing Group, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Youth Trust. It is backed by £100,000 in funding from the Solent Supporting Employment grant programme.

The grant programe was created by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), with match funding provided by the local community foundation and Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton councils.

Matthew McLean, community investment services manager at Southern Housing Group, added: “Having worked with Sovereign on similar projects in the past, we are pleased to able to work with them again to deliver this focussed and timely project.”

The Skills 4 Work project will run for 18 months with enrolment for the scheme set to start straight away.

Sovereign manages almost 60,000 homes across the South West and South East of England. Southern Housing Group provides over 30,000 homes, largely across the South East of England.

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