Hundreds of people are getting their foot on the career ladder thanks to a programme being delivered by Staffordshire County Council.
The Open Door programme focuses on helping people who face difficulties in finding work by offering them a twelve week work experience placement. Open Door, which was introduced in 2009 has supported over 600 people from across the county, helping many secure full-time employment.
49-year-old Karen Seaman from Coton Fields in Stafford is one person enjoying a new career thanks to the programme.
Karen now works for Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team after spending the last twenty years unable to work because of a disability.
“I started to look for work a couple of years ago but because I had been out of work for so long I was struggling to find anything or even get an interview.
“It was my Jobcentre Plus Adviser Dot who first told me about Open Door and that’s when things changed for the best. I was offered a placement with the County Council’s Trading Standards team and with AMEY in the Highways department. During my placements I gained loads of office experience, got to do some IT training and learned lots of new skills which was great.
“In June, a full-time position became available with the Trading Standards team which I applied for and to my delight was offered the job. I’m a Technical Support Officer which means I get to support our officers whilst carrying out their duties.
“I absolutely love my job and getting it is probably down to the valuable experience I gained from the programme so I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped me. I would recommend it to anybody trying to get back into work; it’s a really good hand-up that will help you get your career off the ground.”
Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said:
“A key priority for us as a Council is to ensure that people get the opportunity to access good quality jobs and that we have a skilled workforce to grow our economy.
“As well as having the right qualifications, most employers also like to see people with relevant work experience or evidence of doing the job which is where Open Door is helping. Karen is a great example of the kind of people who can really benefit from the programme.”
“On Open Door, people get valuable work experience which they can put on their CV, a reference from their manager, as well as access to certain training courses.”
Open Door provides work placements within Staffordshire County Council departments and also with external organisations depending on the persons preferred area of work. People also get the opportunity to apply for any internally advertised jobs with the County Council.
For further information on Open Door visit http://jobs.scchost.org.uk/v20/ or contact Vicky Perry on 01785 854486