JOBSEEKERS in Uttoxeter can improve their employment prospects by completing a free course aimed at helping them back to work.
East Staffordshire CVS (community and voluntary service) is running the 12-week employability course, which encompasses many of the topics covered at its work club, held every Friday in the town.
However, as well as learning skills including CV-writing, searching for jobs and interview techniques, participants also receive a recognised level two qualification accredited by the National Open College Network, further boosting their chances of finding work.
CVS development assistant Charlotte Holland, who co-ordinates work clubs in East Staffordshire, said: “With the economic situation and the coming changes to the benefits system, we are seeing an increasing need for our services.
“A lot of jobseekers have learning needs, including a surprising number who can’t read or write and a lot of people who don’t know how to use a computer.
“Often we see people who have been in the same job for most of their life, but are then made redundant and suddenly find themselves in a position where they have to get a CV together and apply for jobs.
“Taking part in the employability course is a big boost to people and with things like CV writing and interview techniques, it’s vital to have some practice so when you’re in a real situation you know what to expect.
“It can also be quite isolating to be unemployed so it’s really good for people to mix with others in the same situation.”
Liz, from Uttoxeter, gained help from the CVS work club in making a significant career change after 17 years as a teacher.
She said: “Charlotte and her team were supportive, helpful and - probably most importantly - friendly and welcoming in a relaxed atmosphere.
“The presentations were informative, with useful tips and ideas, and we were encouraged to discuss them with others. It was good to meet others in the same situation, and to share employment ideas and experiences.
“The sessions covered a variety of topics and I found the session about interviews and how you present yourself very useful as it had been a long time since I had had an interview.
“In a lot of the sessions, she pointed out little things that could make all the difference when writing a CV, filling in an application form or attending an interview.
“Charlotte and her team are genuinely interested in the people who go to work club and were very happy when I found employment.”
The work club runs at Uttoxeter Fire Station, in Cheadle Road, on Fridays from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
Attendance is on a drop-in basis, but places for the employability course, which begins on January 11, must be booked in advance by calling Charlotte Holland on 01283 543414 or emailing Charlotte@escvs.org.uk