“It has made a huge difference for me,” said Megan Walsh, who has gained her first step on a career ladder through an Ealing Council scheme called WEST that helps unemployed people into jobs and training.
Megan, 19, is from South Ealing and had been out of work for months when she approached WEST (which stands for work, education, support and training).
WEST has helped more than 100 local people into jobs or training since it was set up by the council in 2015, with the support of the Mayor of London.
Through WEST’s personalised, one-to-one advice and support, Megan gained confidence and interview skills.
She was also helped in a job search which led to Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s College, where she is now an apprentice administrator.
‘TOLD I HAD NO EXPERIENCE’
“Not only has WEST got me an apprenticeship, it has got me in to an apprenticeship that I’m thoroughly enjoying and that I would not have been able to find on my own,” said Megan. “It had been difficult for me to find work because the adverts for jobs I thought would be suitable were misleading and, when I got an interview, I was told I didn’t have enough experience.
“Once I have completed training I would like to progress to having a full-time administrator job and I’d recommend WEST to anyone. I’m still receiving support from my WEST mentor now.”
‘MADE A MASSIVE DIFFERENCE’
Balvinder Chavda of Greenford got advice, support and a Level 3 Award in childcare and education after getting in touch with WEST – and has since found a job. She had been unemployed for 15 months.
She said: “WEST has made a massive difference to my career. It made me realise that with my employment experience I had the skill set for jobs I was applying for but I also required a Level 3 qualification that I didn’t hold. I am very grateful for all the support and expertise which has enabled me to find a job and to change career paths. If it wasn’t for WEST I would have still been unemployed. I have already recommended WEST to friends.”
‘I LACKED CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF’
Georgia Morris, 23, was a young mother worried about childcare if she worked. But, after help from WEST, she is now hoping to get work in a school as a classroom assistant or support worker.
She said: “I wasn’t confident looking for jobs, and had no knowledge of where to look or how to apply and approach employers for opportunities. I lacked confidence in myself too because it was hard to find suitable working hours, and I lacked qualifications.
“Through WEST I have completed training and gained qualifications. It has given me more knowledge and insight into what I want to do and where I want to be. And it has also helped me to push myself more to apply for training and employment opportunities.”
‘IT’S SO ENCOURAGING’
Councillor Peter Mason, the council’s cabinet member for prosperity, skills, employment and transformation, said: “WEST is a perfect example of how working closely with our partners across the borough can help enable people to get into employment, education or training. It’s so encouraging to see so many people making use of the service to get on with their lives.
“By providing targeted support for those who have been locked out of work but desperately want to work, WEST can help people overcome what might have previously seemed to them to be insurmountable barriers: Whether it is because of a lack of job search know-how, a lack of confidence or experience, or long term unemployment.”
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?
It you are unemployed, living in the borough and more than 18 years old, WEST can help.
Regular one-to-ones are run in community centres and libraries across the borough, by appointment only.
Advisors can offer support on a one-to-one basis with:
- CV writing
- Job search and application help
- Interview preparation
- Career advice
- Access to free, accredited training.
Call 020 8825 9894 or email WEST@ealing.gov.uk
Got a job? Get on our escalator
For those residents who are already in a job but still reliant on claiming some housing benefit to top-up their wages, a new scheme is available to help you develop your career.
The Skills Escalator can provide tailored advice and support to help you ‘up-skill’ and gain additional qualifications to improve your chances of increasing your working hours – or of gaining a higher salary or a promotion – and thus decrease your need for benefits.
Already successfully running in neighbouring boroughs, the Skills Escalator can help you get a range of accredited training – including vocational courses (such as for construction or health and safety) or courses to improve your language skills.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?
You must be:
- An Ealing resident
- Eligible to work in the UK and working at least one hour a week
- In receipt of housing benefit
- 25 years old or more
- Renting in private, council or temporary accommodation.
If these apply to you, email SkillsEscalator@ealing.gov.uk or call either Vicky on 0770 295 4486 or Kayliegh on 0795 765 8194.
The project has received funding from the European Social Fund as part of the European Union’s 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England