Six jobseekers from Rossendale have been supported into work within the local Citizens Advice following a collaboration with the employment service Rossendale Works.
Those supported initially engaged with free weekly activities run by Rossendale Works, which are designed to empower local jobseekers and enhance their employability and self-confidence. Some took part in the weekly community allotment initiative run by the service, while others attended a weekly breakfast session hosted at Trinity Baptist Church in Bacup.
At both they had the opportunity to interact with fellow community members and engage with Rossendale Works' dedicated employment officers.
As a result, three of those looking for work participated in a taster workshop that focussed on volunteering for Citizens Advice East Lancashire and what the role would be like. This led to them transitioning into part-time volunteer roles with Citizens Advice East Lancashire, providing them with the skills and experience needed to successfully apply for full-time positions within the organisation when made available.
The remaining three participants, while not volunteering, also received recommendations to apply for jobs at Citizens Advice East Lancashire and were provided with coaching by Rossendale Works colleagues. This guidance and support also helped them successfully secure positions within the service.
Elema Begum is one of those supported and is now working as a trainee adviceline advisor at Citizens Advice East Lancashire. Prior to the support, Elema was on Universal Credit for a few months. She was struggling to find work and the feeling of uncertainty was causing anxiety and reduced motivation.
She said, “Thanks to Django at Rossendale Works, who put me forward for this role, I was finally able to secure paid employment. This opportunity will allow me to develop and strengthen my existing skills and abilities as well as pick up new ones along the way. This experience has also instilled me with a newfound confidence, allowing me to truly develop as a person. Additionally, I have gained invaluable experience that will surely be of great benefit to me in the future.”
Dave Oglaza, chief officer at Citizens Advice Bureau East Lancashire said, “This has been a very worthwhile collaboration, with our partnership with Rossendale Works enabling our new colleagues to pick up valuable skills and experience ahead of obtaining full time employment with us.”
Paul Becouarn, project lead at Rossendale Works, said, "We are dedicated to transforming the lives of local people by providing them with the tools, training, and connections they need to succeed in today's job market.
"Our collaboration with Citizens Advice East Lancashire has been a fantastic opportunity to make a real impact in our community. We are proud to have helped these individuals find meaningful employment, and we look forward to continuing to build partnerships that benefit both jobseekers and local businesses."
Rossendale Works is funded by Rossendale Council, as part of the £2.6m the council received from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It is delivered on behalf of Rossendale Council by Active Lancashire, and in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions.
Photo: From left: Geraldine Coogan (employment and wellbeing support officer, Rossendale Works), Dave Oglaza (chief officer at Citizens Advice East Lancashire), Django Back and Louise Gregory (employability officers, Rossendale Works), Gemma Pritchard and Elema Begum (trainee adviceline advisors, CA), Amena Patel (crisis support and recovery project coordinator, CA), Sarah Green (learning and development lead, CA).
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6bn of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.