If you are already in a job but still claiming some housing benefit to top-up your wages, the council’s Skills Escalator is a ‘rare’ scheme that can help you increase your chances of earning more money.
By gaining additional qualifications to help you ‘up-skill’, or simply being given the right guidance with job applications, you could improve the likelihood of raising your working hours – or of gaining a higher salary or a promotion. To qualify for Skills Escalator you must live in rented accommodation in the borough, be working at least one hour a week, be receiving housing benefit and at least 18 years old.
‘Ealing is fortunate to have Skills Escalator’
Skills Escalator advisor Kayliegh Creamer (pictured) said: “This is a rare service. It’s not Londonwide, let alone nationwide.
“There is not much provision for people who are working. If you are unemployed there are lots of services.
“So, Ealing is fortunate to have Skills Escalator available. We approach people we know will meet the criteria but residents can approach us, too.
“It is a relief for people when they can see a light at the end of the tunnel for improving their lives. People are often stuck and can’t see a way out.
“Many are working part-time to fit their schedule and family commitments; and their schedule won’t change so the only way they way change their prospects is to increase the hourly rate they earn. But many people don’t know where to begin to achieve that goal.”
‘They gave me the confidence to apply’
Aneela Rashid (pictured with Kayliegh) benefited from the advice of the Skills Escalator team and is now working for the council. She said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to explore other career options with the support and guidance of the Skills Escalator team. They gave me the confidence to apply for the prevent support officer position at Ealing Council for which I was eventually selected.”
‘Help such a wide spectrum of people’
Not everyone is the same, so the Skills Escalator team has to adjust its advice according to their situation.
Kayliegh explained: “Although we can direct people to courses, we do not have a ‘menu’ to pick from. We need to tailor our advice to each individual and courses are not the solution to everything. There are other ways that hold just as much value.
“Aneela is a case in point. She just needed help with how to approach applications, what to do with her CV and to work on interview answers and her confidence. Basically, we fine-tuned her employability skills and she achieved a salary increase.
“But we help such a wide spectrum of people from every walk of life – Aneela is degree-educated but some are less skilled or can barely speak English; and some people come to us focused and already know what they want to do and what has stopped them from doing it, while many others do not know where to start or what they want to do and need more guidance.”
Contact SkillsEscalator@ealing.gov.uk or call either Diana on 020 8825 7855 or Kayliegh on 0795 765 8194.