Pilot to help jobless get into food industry

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A new pilot project in Spalding aims to help unemployed people into the world of work by offering training and experience in the food industry.

The scheme being run from January will see up to a dozen people who are struggling to find jobs offered support to improve their employability.

As well as an introductory couple of weeks finding out what is expected in a workplace, those who take part – some of whom may never had experienced any kind of work before – will then be given two weeks’ work experience in a food industry setting and a further two weeks of intensive training to offer them a skill they can add to their CV.

This could include health and safety training or food handling, for example, which would make them more attractive to employers when they are searching for staff.

If successful, those behind the pilot are hoping it could be extended to offer support to more people in South Holland, as well as elsewhere in the county and in other industries.

Clare Hughes, principal development officer in Lincolnshire County Council’s Economy team, said: “This is a joint project bringing together a number of organisations, such as JobCentre Plus and some big employment agencies in the South Holland area to provide some of those people who are unemployed with a route that gives them a chance of employment.

“It has come about because we felt there might be a situation in South Holland where people were either not getting into jobs at all or were working in a series of temporary jobs but never getting a permanent job because they are not getting the same amount of training as permanent employees might be.

“We will give them employability training, work experience and specific work-related training and we hope that will give them what they need to find permanent employment.”

The scheme already has a number of the big names in the South Holland food industry on board, willing to offer work experience placements to the participants.

It will be offered on a voluntary basis and will not affect the benefits of those who take part.

Clare added: “We are just starting out on this with a view to beginning the six-week process in January.

“We chose the food industry as that is where the jobs are in South Holland. It sometimes doesn’t have the best image but we also hope that this scheme will give these unemployed people a chance to see the different jobs that are available.”